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The Pentagon's top officer disagrees with Trump's transgender ban

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Gen. Joseph Dunford spoke in support of transgender people serving in the military Tuesday before a Senate committee. Dunford said he believed current transgender troops have served with honor and valor. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

When President Donald Trump tweeted that he was banning transgender people from serving in the military, he said the decision was reached in consultation with generals.

One general who clearly didn't advise Trump to go forward with the ban was Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Pentagon's top uniformed military officer.

Dunford stated unequivocally Tuesday that he believed transgender people should be allowed to continue serving in the military.

'Honor and valor'

According to The Hill, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand from New York asked Dunford during a hearing if he believed current transgender troops have served with honor and valor, and Dunford said he did.

“I believe that any individual who meets the physical and mental standards and is worldwide deployable and is currently serving should be afforded the opportunity to continue to serve,” Dunford said.

Trump's original declaration stated that the U.S. government would not "accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity."

What about new recruits?

One thing Dunford's comments don't clarify is how he would advise the president regarding accepting new transgender recruits. In his exchange with Gillibrand, he was clearly speaking about currently serving transgender people.

Trump issued a memo in August prohibiting the acceptance of new transgender recruits into the military, and tasked Secretary of Defense James Mattis with figuring out what to do with those who are currently serving.

Dunford made the statement before a Senate committee.

Dunford made his comments about transgender military service before the Senate Armed Forces Committee, which is evaluating him for reappointment as Joint Chiefs chairman.

He was appointed by former President Barack Obama in 2015 and nominated for a second term by President Donald Trump.

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