On Wednesday, Donald Trump took a break from publicly berating Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Republicans who voted against Tuesday’s Senate health care vote to make a new announcement on Twitter. “After consultation with my Generals and military experts,” he tweeted, “please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow,” and then nothing. The resulting pause instigated the usual jokes from journalists and internet trolls, but their humor quickly abated when Trump finished his announcement that the U.S. military “will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity.”
“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory,” he continued, “and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail”:
Considering the president’s previous public comments on former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, whose request for gender reassignment surgery was granted by the U.S. military while she received benefits in prison, Wednesday’s announcement and justification aren’t too surprising. Besides, this is the same Trump who signed the controversial religious liberty executive order and refused to acknowledge LGBTQ Pride Month publicly.
Yet he’s also the same man who, while campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination in June of last year, tweeted his thanks to the LGBTQ community. “I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs,” wrote Trump at the time.
Throw in daughter/advisor Ivanka Trump’s previous public support for the LGBTQ community and the results from an oft-reported Rand Corp. study conducted in 2016, and we’ve got the makings of a yet another rollback of Obama-era policies. As CNN recalls, then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the U.S. military’s longstanding ban on transgender individuals openly serving but granted the Pentagon a “year-long review process” to determine what the effects might be. Per the Rand Corp. study, the Defense Department under President Barack Obama concluded allowing trangender people to serve would have a “minimal impact.”