Former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter vehemently disagreed Wednesday with President Donald Trump’s transgender ban announcement.
Almost immediately after news broke of Trump’s decision to ban transgenders from serving in the military, Carter, who was responsible for removing the ban in June 2016, released a statement condemning the move.
“Quality people in uniform are what make our military the finest fighting force the world has ever seen. I continue to maintain that what matters in choosing those who serve is that they are best qualified,” Carter said in a statement. “To choose service members on other grounds than military qualifications is social policy and has no place in our military. There are already transgender individuals who are serving capably and honorably. This action would also send the wrong signal to a younger generation thinking about military service.”
In effect, Carter forwarded a common argument given by the Obama administration elsewhere, namely that anyone should be allowed to serve or join the military, so long as they meet the standards.
Dan Lamothe of The Washington Post also spoke Wednesday with Brad Carson, the defense official responsible for drawing up transgender policy in the Obama administration.
Carson said the new transgender policy will “invite litigation that will distract the Department of Defense for months, if not years, to come.” Carson reportedly asked all the Joint Chiefs whether they wanted to remove transgenders serving competently, and all of them said no.
When Carter first repealed the ban on transgenders, he set a July 1, 2017 deadline for the services to develop policies allowing for transgender integration. However, Secretary of Defense James Mattis recently delayed the deadline for accepting transgender recruits by six months and also asked members of Congress to hold off banning DOD funds from being used to fund gender transition treatments until a full policy on the matter was developed.
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