President Donald Trump tweets transgender people cannot “serve in any capacity” in the U.S. military
By: Christopher Turner
President Donald Trump tweeted on Wednesday that transgender people cannot “serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.” Trump repeats claims from conservative Republicans that transgender service members disrupt the ranks and add medical costs that undermine the readiness of American troops.
The President made the announcement in a series of three tweets early Wednesday morning, saying: “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 US 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.”
Transgender service members have been able to serve openly in the U.S. military, receive medical care, and start formally changing their gender identity in the Pentagon’s personnel system since October 2016, when former Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the controversial ban. At that time, under the Obama administration, he had given the military until July to develop policies around allowing people who had already identified as transgender to join the military if they met physical, medical, and other standards.
Military chiefs had argued that they needed more time to assess policy, and requested an extension of six months past July.
The Pentagon did not immediately have a statement or press release available following Trump’s Twitter announcement.
There isn’t an official tally of transgender people serving in the military, but it is estimated that there are more than 15,000 transgender troops serving in the U.S. military.