A host of Democrats have come out loudly in force against President Donald Trump’s transgender ban, and so far six Republicans have publicly joined them in opposition.
Up to this point, Republican Sens. John McCain, Joni Ernst, Richard Shelby, Orrin Hatch and GOP Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Frank LoBiondo have issued public statements against the Trump transgender ban announced Wednesday morning.
“The President’s tweet this morning regarding transgender Americans in the military is yet another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter,” McCain began in his statement.
“The statement was unclear. The Department of Defense has already decided to allow currently-serving transgender individuals to stay in the military, and many are serving honorably today,” McCain continued. “Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving. There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military—regardless of their gender identity.”
Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, who sits on the Senate Committee on Armed Services and served for 20 years in the military, said anyone who wants to join the military and is able to meet standards should be allowed to serve, though she qualified her opposition by stating the Pentagon should not pay for gender transition treatments.
While Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby hesitated to aggressively disagree with Trump’s policy, he told CNN that “You ought to treat everybody fairly and give everybody a chance to serve,” which comes close to the Obama administration’s line that anyone who meets the standards should be allowed to join the military.
Sen. Orrin Hatch stated that discrimination is not acceptable.
“I don’t think we should be discriminating against anyone,” Hatch said. “Transgender people are people, and deserve the best we can do for them.”
Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who has a transgender son, said gender identity should not be a factor in excluding people from the military.
New Jersey Rep. Frank LoBiondo commented that kicking out transgender men and women from the military is “counter-intuitive to strengthening military.”
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