Within hours of President Donald Trump’s announcement that the United States will no longer “accept or allow” transgender people to serve in the military, reaction from elected officials was swift. Here are a few examples.
Sen. Maria Cantwell tweet: “Transgender servicemembers are honorable and patriotic. Discrimination in any form is unacceptable. We must defeat this discriminatory policy.”
Sen. Patty Murray: “Anyone who puts on a uniform to defend our freedoms deserves our country’s support and whole-hearted respect. As a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and the daughter of a World War II veteran, I am committed to continuing work with my colleagues and members of our military to support everyone who plays a critical role in the defense of our nation and anyone who dreams of joining their ranks, and I certainly stand ready to push back against President Trump’s hateful agenda against the LGBTQ community. It does not represent who we are as a nation.”
Ranking member Adam Smith: “This announcement is an unwarranted and disgraceful attack on men and women who have been bravely serving their country. These service members are defending the United States around the world as we speak, and they have long done so with distinction. To prevent transgender people from joining the military and to push out those who have devoted their lives to this country would be ugly and discriminatory in the extreme.
“Secretary of Defense Mattis is currently engaged in a six-month review of policies to bring in new transgender recruits, and he has determined that transgender people who are currently serving should continue to serve.
“On Jan. 31, President Trump said that he ‘is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community. President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election.’ What has changed since then? The inflated cost estimates that President Trump appears to be alluding to have no basis in fact, and appear to be cooked up by right-wing advocacy organizations whose real interest is not to support military readiness but to further discrimination. The cost of all hormone therapy for transgender individuals serving in the military since 2012 has been a grand total of $297,000, and there is no indication that the thousands of transgender people currently serving in the military have negatively impacted readiness.
“It takes a brave and committed person to volunteer to defend this country, and every American that is able and willing to do so should be allowed to join the U.S. military. We will fight this decision, just like we fought ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ and ultimately justice will prevail.”
Sen. John McCain: “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.
“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. 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. We should all be guided by the principle that any American who wants to serve our country and is able to meet the standards should have the opportunity to do so – and should be treated as the patriots they are.
“The Department of Defense is currently conducting a study on the medical obligations it would incur, the impact on military readiness and related questions associated with the accession of transgender individuals who are not currently serving in uniform and wish to join the military. I do not believe that any new policy decision is appropriate until that study is complete and thoroughly reviewed by the secretary of defense, our military leadership, and the Congress.
“The Senate Armed Services Committee will continue to follow closely and conduct oversight on the issue of transgender individuals serving in the military.”
Compiled by Tacoma Weekly Staff.