President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that he would ban trangender from US military. According to Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, the administration has not yet decided whether transgender service members already in the military would be immediately thrown out, saying the White House and Pentagon would have to work that out.
This shocking announcement made by Trump has surprised everyone. Last Year Trump, as a presidential candidate vowed to fight for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people, came in a series of morning Twitter posts.
It drew condemnation from rights groups and some lawmakers in both parties as discrimination with purely political motives but was praised by conservative activists and some Republicans.
This decision has once again reversed policy of former President Barack Obama and halts years of efforts to eliminate barriers to military service based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
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, without naming any of the generals or experts.
"Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail," he said.
Sanders said Trump had "extensive discussions with his national security team" and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was informed after the president made the decision on Tuesday.
"This was about military readiness," Sanders told a briefing. "This was about unit cohesion. This was about resources within the military, and nothing more."
The Pentagon earlier referred questions about Trump's decision to the White House. Critics said the health costs of caring for transgender service members were a tiny portion of the military's healthcare budget and that Trump's policy change was based on prejudice.
However, this is not the first time that Trump has targeted transgender people since taking office in January. Earlier, in February Trump rescinded protections for transgender students put in place by Obama that had let them use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council advocacy group, was among those praising Trump, saying, "Our troops shouldn't be forced to endure hours of transgender 'sensitivity' classes and politically correct distractions."
Under Obama, the Pentagon last year announced that it was ending its ban on transgender people serving openly, calling the prohibition outdated.
After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow......â€” Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
....Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming.....â€” Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
Inputs from Thomson ReutersÂ