President Trump’s sudden July 26 announcement to bar transgender persons from military service drew quick, strong, and largely negative reactions.
“The president’s tweet… regarding transgender Americans in the military is yet another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said in a statement.
McCain who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, called Trump’s statement “unclear” and reiterated his belief that any able-bodied American who meets readiness standards should be allowed to serve in uniform.
The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) came out strongly against Trump’s decision. Calling it “backward, harmful and contrary to American values,” IAVA chief executive and founder Paul Rieckhoff said, “This shocking statement undermines an unknown number of active-duty troops, who have just been told their commander-in-chief that they are banned from serving. In an era when so few people step up to serve, no American who is willing and able to wear the uniform should be turned away.”
Trump’s decision “has the best interests of the military in mind,” Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., said July 26. “We cannot burden our armed forces with the tremendous costs and disruptions that transgender (sic) in the military would entail. The costs incurred by funding transgender surgeries and the required additional care it demands should not be the focus of our military resources,” she said.
Transgender service members will be allowed to remain in the military for the time being.
“The Department of Defense is awaiting formal guidance from the White House as a follow-up to the Commander-in-Chief’s announcement on military service by transgender personnel,” said DoD spokeswoman Dana White. “:We will provide detailed guidance to the department in the near future for how this policy change will be implemented. The Department will continue to focus on our mission of defending our nation and ongoing operations against our foes, while ensuring all service members are treated with respect.”