President Donald Trump told reporters Thursday that his decision to ban transgenders in the military was a “great favor” to the armed forces.
“I have great respect for the community … I think I’ve had great support, or I’ve had great support from that community,” Trump said Thursday. “I got a lot of votes. But the transgender, the military’s working on it now … It’s been a very difficult situation and I think I’m doing a lot of people a favor by coming out and just saying it. As you know, it’s been a very complicated issue for the military, it’s been a very confusing issue for the military, and I think I’m doing the military a great favor.”
Trump tweeted out his decision to ban transgenders from serving openly in the military July 26, effectually communicating his intention to officially reverse the Obama administration’s 2016 policy to repeal the ban on transgenders in the military.
Since then, transgender service members have come out in open defiance of Trump’s announcement, which has culminated in a lawsuit filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) on behalf of five anonymous transgender service members. These military members are suing Trump and alleging that his Twitter announcement violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.
House Democrats have also loudly opposed the announcement, even going so far as to call it unconstitutional. More than 50 House Democrats urged Secretary of Defense James Mattis in a letter last Friday to ignore Trump’s announcement of an impending reinstatement of the transgender ban.
“As Members of Congress with an abiding interest in our nation’s military and its policies towards the LGBTQ community, we write to not only express our strong opposition to President Trump’s recent tweets seeking to ban transgender individuals from the military, but to remind you not to comply with any unconstitutional directive which may ultimately be issued,” Democrats wrote in the letter. “We reject the premise that the presence of transgender troops interferes with the morale or combat readiness of our armed forces.”
The Pentagon has not yet received official guidance from the White House on the ban.
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