Trump Bans Trans* People From Serving in the Military
In three tweets, Donald Trump eliminated an Obama-era protection that allowed trans Americans to serve in the military. In order to hide his political motivations, Trump falsely claimed that transgender military personnel pose an economic burden that detracts from our ability to 'win' decisively. This new position starkly contrasts his more inclusive tone at the Republican National Convention, when he alleged, "I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens."
Since Trump broke this news using a medium with a 140 character limit (Twitter), details of the new policy remain unclear. Trump may not realize the danger he put trans soldiers in by creating a prohibition against their existence. How should currently serving trans military personnel react to this news? Are they banned or is the banned meant to prevent new trans enlistees from joining? For currently serving military personnel in the process of making a transition, are they prohibiting from completing their transitions?
These are questions Trump and the administration ought to have been prepared to answer. It was completely inappropriate for Trump to make such a monumental military announcement on twitter. Three tweets does not respect the dignity of service people nor does it honor the sacrifice of military personnel fighting to preserve our freedom. Below are the three Wednesday morning tweets overturning Obama's executive order:
Trump has mastered the art of the pandering to military families. Military families makeup one of the largest and most consistent voting blocks in the country. But outside of pandering, Trump has done nothing to improve the lives of service members other than making politically calculated speeches featuring the family of a service member.
The military is not a symbol to be trifled with to score political points. Making this announcement via twitter without first allowing military leaders to communicate with troops, is beneath the office of the president. When asked about Trump's outlandish claim during the press briefing, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders refused to offer any information that could not be gleaned from reading Trump's tweets.
Attempting to compel U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign, Trump has spent the past several days lambasting him openly and often. Trump's intention is to replace Sessions with an attorney general that is able to oversee the Russian investigation. News of special counsel Bob Mueller investigating Trump's finances sent the White House occupant into a tailspin leading to the incessant bullying of Sessions. However, Sessions remains a conservative darling on Capital Hill.
Sessions is a beloved figure among fellow Republican senators. Thus, it behooves Trump to allow Sessions to resign rather than firing him to avoid losing favor with the conservative base. This new anti-LGBT policy was more about gaining political favor with conservatives disheartened by Trump's treatment of Sessions than it was about military readiness.