In what has become a morning routine, President Trump took to Twitter Wednesday morning to announce a change in U.S. policy when it comes to who can serve in the military.
In a series of tweets, the president said the following:
After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.
The tweets were immediately met with backlash from representatives and leaders within the LGBT community. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois), who is a U.S. combat veteran, released a statement in response of the ban:
When my Black Hawk helicopter was shot down in Iraq, I didn’t care if the American troops risking their lives to help save me were gay, straight, transgender or anything else. All that mattered was they didn’t leave me behind. If you are willing to risk your life for our country and you can do the job, you should be able to serve no matter your gender identity, sexual orientation or race. Anything else is discriminatory and counterproductive to our national security.
Trump’s tweets Wednesday morning appear to be a reversal from comments he made on the campaign trail. Back in June of 2016, he tweeted “Thank you LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.”
Trump’s decision reversed a policy initially approved by the Defense Department under President Barack Obama, which was still under final review, that would allow transgender individuals to openly serve in the military. Defense Secretary James Mattis announced last month that he was delaying enactment of the plan to begin allowing transgender individuals to join the U.S. military.