Despite initial remarks earlier in the day by Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft suggesting he might ignore a ban on transgenders, the Department of Homeland Security clarified that the Coast Guard will follow the Pentagon’s lead.
Zukunft pledged during remarks at an event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies that he would not “break faith” with the 13 transgender Coast Guardsmen, following President Donald Trump’s July 26 announcement that transgenders would not be allowed to serve in the military.
“The first thing we did is we reached out to all 13 members of the Coast Guard who have come out under a policy who declare themselves transgender,” Zukunft said Tuesday. “I reached out personally to Lt. Taylor Miller, who was featured on the cover of the Washington Post last week. If you read that story, Taylor’s family has disowned her. Her family is the United States Coast Guard.”
“And I told Taylor, I will not turn my back — we have made an investment in you, and you have made an investment in the Coast Guard, and I will not break faith,” Zukunft said. “And so that is the commitment to our people right now — very small numbers, but all of them are doing very meaningful Coast Guard work today.”
When asked about whether the Coast Guard intends to break from Trump’s announcement, David Lapan, deputy assistant secretary for media operations at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), told The Daily Caller News Foundation that the Coast Guard “follows closely with DOD on accessions and workforce policies and will be working with them on this new policy going forward.”
Coast Guard Capt. Howard Wright added that the Coast Guard will follow the Pentagon’s lead, and is currently collaborating with the Department of Defense (DOD) on implementing the policy change to ban transgenders. So far, the White House has not provided any official guidance to the Pentagon.
The Coast Guard falls under the DHS, not the DOD.
Zukunft emphasized during the event that “we stood up a tiger team of our JAG officers,” and also contacted then-Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly after hearing news of the transgender ban on Twitter.
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