White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders showed Wednesday that she was going to keep control of the press briefing despite the media obsession with the transgender issue. When they continued to ask about the same story over and over, Sanders threatened to simply end the briefing.
“Sarah, two questions,” began journalist April Ryan. “One following up on Major with Tricare and the transgender community. There’s been a concern from the transgender community before President Trump became President Trump that, if Obamacare changed to Trumpcare, they were wondering if they were able to get the procedures to help them complete their phases of becoming the other sex, or the other gender.”
“What do you say to those people who are seeing this now with this ban in the military?” Ryan continued. “What do you say to transgender America who wants to continue with the change?”
“Maybe some who already had part of the change and want to do the change and are scared because of what’s happening now, not for certain,” she asked. “What do you say to transgender America?”
“As I’ve said before and I’ll try to make this clear,” Sanders responded, “this was a military decision. This was about military readiness, this was about unit cohesion, this was about resources within the military, and nothing more.”
“Guys, I really don’t have anything else to add on that topic,” she explained. “As I do, I’ll keep you posted.”
“But if those are the only questions we have, I’m going to call it a day,” she warned as the press corps protested loudly. “But if we have questions on other topics, I’ll be happy to take them.”
The word “transgender” was used 21 times in the short press briefing, including twice in questions after Sanders threatened to cut short the briefing.
Trump announced via his Twitter account today that transgender persons would not be accepted into the military “in any capacity.” While many use the often-quoted estimate of 15,000 current transgender members in the military, a Department of Defense estimate concluded that there are between 4,000 and 6,000 transgender members currently in the military. This would mean about 0.1 to 0.5 percent of the total members in the military are transgender.