President Donald Trump took time from his 17-day “working vacation” and nuclear weapon sabre rattling with North Korea to declare his highly controversial ban on transgender troops to be a “great favor” for the U.S. military.
Trump gave an impromptu press conference at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club on Thursday where he talked up his Twitter proclamation to “not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity” in the U.S. forces. Despite the exclusionary tactic, Trump stressed that he has “great respect” for trans Americans. He did so in on-brand fashion by framing his respect through his perception of how he’s been treated.
“I’ve had great support from that community,” said Trump. “I got a lot of votes. But the transgender, the military’s working on it now.”
Considering that the Pentagon didn’t move to actively enforce the ban after it was tweeted, there’s been the appearance of disconnect between what’s being demonstrated and what Trump has presented the military as furiously pushing for. Trump claims his ban will eliminate a “confusing issue.”
“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,” declared Trump. “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.”
Pushback against Trump and the call to bar transgender troops has been strong and it did not take long for the golf club comments to get a response from the president of the Human Rights Campaign.
“Donald Trump’s attack on transgender troops weakens our military and is a betrayal of those who wear the uniform,” said Chad Griffin. “Fifty-six retired admirals and generals, Republican and Democrat elected officials, and a majority of the American public have all condemned Trump’s misguided and despicable policy that will do nothing but undermine military readiness and harm brave transgender service members and their families.”
At present, five transgender service members are suing Trump over the military ban.