On Wednesday, President Trump announced on Twitter that his administration is banning people who identify as transgender from serving in the military, an initiative that polls say is approved by the American people.
After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
....Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
....victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
The Associated Press reports that there are up to 250 members of the military who want to transition to the opposite of their biological gender. Neither the Pentagon nor the White House has released comprehensive data on members of the armed forces who identify as transgender.
Conservatives in Congress have long been opposed to government funding of gender transition surgeries in the military, which the Daily Signal reports would cost $3.7 billion over the next decade.
Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., recently introduced an amendment hoping to block taxpayer-funded transition surgeries in the National Defense Authorization Act mega-bill. However, that amendment was struck down in Congress, with 24 Republicans voting to fund the surgeries.
Rep Hartzler commended the president’s decision to institute the transgender military ban.
Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., a double amputee veteran, also applauded the president’s decision:
GOP Rep. Brian Mast – a double amputee veteran – who voted against Hartzler amdt releases stmt supportive of Trump transgender announcemnt pic.twitter.com/FQeKmSO0c3— Alex Moe (@AlexNBCNews) July 26, 2017
A recent Rasmussen study found that just 23 percent of respondents agreed that allowing for openly transgender individuals to serve in the armed forces is “good for the military.” And 31 percent said it was bad for the military, while 38 percent remained undecided.
An Obama-era transgender inclusion policy was set to go into effect at the end of July, but it was delayed in late June by Defense Secretary James Mattis. At the time, Mattis announced that the Pentagon would study how transgender enlistment would affect the “readiness or lethality” of the military.
Chelsea Manning, the disgraced former Army private and transgender activist, has weighed in on the Trump decision. Manning, who betrayed the country by stealing top secret information and releasing it on the open internet, ranted about transgender funding in the military:
so, biggest baddest most $$ military on earth cries about a few trans people ?? but funds the F-35? ?? sounds like cowardice ?????? #WeGotThis— Chelsea E. Manning (@xychelsea) July 26, 2017