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Military Chief Goes Against Trump on Transgender Policy

Military Chief - Joseph Dunford, Joint Chiefs Chairman

U.S. President Donald Trump is fond of tweeting about just about everything but when he tweeted about banning transgender individuals from serving in the military, it sent shock waves throughout the country. Even Republicans who had been reluctant to criticize the president were quick to call him out over the tweets.



Trump tweeted that going forward, transgender individuals will not be allowed to serve in the military citing “tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump tweeted.

 

Now, the U.S. military chief is also speaking.

Top military officials said earlier today that U.S. policy on transgender individuals that are now serving in the military will not change.

U.S. Military Chief, General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement Thursday that the transgender policy that is already implemented in the military will not change until Defense Secretary Jim Mattis receives the president’s policy direction.

“There will be no modifications to the current policy until the president’s direction has been received by the secretary of defense and the secretary has issued implementation guidance,” the military chief wrote in a letter.

Dunford said after President Trump’s tweet that all transgender personnel in the military “will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect.”

Other critics were also quick to call the president out.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) pointing out that there is a study currently going on to determine the imact of transgenders in the U.S. military.

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McCain said the statement by President Trump was unclear noting that 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.”

The Arizona Senator noted that the military top brass are 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.”

“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,” he said.



McCain said he believes “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.”

He added that the Senate Armed Services Committee “will continue to follow closely and conduct oversight on the issue of transgender individuals serving in the military.”

Eric Fanning, a former Army secretary said he was angry and shocked that President Trump would “turn his back on thousands of transgender Americans serving in the military” today.

Appearing on NBC’s “Today show” Fanning said that “if you’re a transgender service member anywhere in the world, you are very nervous about what you’re hearing, and now you’re probably very confused and very frightened about what the future holds for you, when your commander in chief tweets a message like this, essentially dismissing your service.”

The Pentagon appears to have been caught off guard by Trump’s tweet and Defense officials are scrambling to put together an explanation for Trump’s “guidance.”

 

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