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Sen. John McCain publicly opposes Trump's policy on transgender persons in the military

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Sen. John McCain issues a statement regarding President Trump's decision to ban transgenders from the military. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) released a statement over the weekend on President Donald Trump's decision to no longer allow transgenders to serve in the military.

"It would be a step in the wrong direction to force currently serving transgender individuals to leave the military solely on the basis of their gender identity rather than medical and readiness standards that should always be at the heart of Department of Defense personnel policy," McCain wrote on his official Senate website. "The Pentagon’s ongoing study on this issue should be completed before any decisions are made with regard to accession. The Senate Armed Services Committee will continue to conduct oversight on this important issue.”

After tweeting about his decision several weeks ago, Trump issued an official directive Friday instructing military officials to bar transgenders from entering the military and put an end to the funding of gender reassignment surgery, and deferred to Secretary of Defense James Mattis to decide how to handle transgenders currently serving.

Mattis said on Tuesday that he would set up a panel of experts from both the Department of Defense and Homeland Security to determine the best way to implement the ban and offer additional guidance.

“[I]n the interim, current policy with respect to currently serving members will remain in place.” said Mattis.

Trump's directive calls on Mattis to submit a plan on how to implement the changes by February 21.

McCain is currently serving as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which exercises Senate oversight of the Department of Defense.

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