SURPRISE! President Donald Trump woke up on the morning of Wednesday, July 26, and announced via Twitter that transgenders (those born with a certain gender but identify self with another gender) will now be banned from serving in the U.S. military in any capacity:
“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.”
“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. Thank you.”
The announcement came nearly one year after the Obama administration announced that transgender individuals would no longer be banned from serving openly in the U.S. military.
This policy reversal blindsided not only about 1,320 to 6,630 transgender personnel actively serving, and anywhere from 830 to 4,160 serving in the reserves (RAND Study). Even Trump’s own Defense Secretary James Mattis was caught off guard by the announcement and was reportedly “appalled” and even “infuriated” by the tweets.
Mattis, who was on vacation at the time of Trump’s decision, only had one day’s worth of notice before Trump tweeted his announcement of the policy, according to the New York Times.
The Times reported that Mattis saw the tweets as an insult to transgender Americans currently serving in the military.
Even the Joint Chiefs of Staff, including chairman General Joseph Dunford, were not aware that Trump planned to tweet a ban on transgender service members, according to three U.S. defense officials in a report by CNN.
CNN further reported that Dunford has informed service members that 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 guidelines.”
“In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect,” Dunford wrote in a memo to the military per the CNN report.
This sentiment was shared by Filipino-American retired Major General Antonio Taguba.
In a statement sent by Taguba to The Filipino Channel’s daily newscast “Balitang America”, Taguba said:
“I believe it’s totally unjustified. President Trump made a reactionary, ill-advised, ill-informed, and inconsistent policy announcement through Twitter which does not justify his original support for the LGBT community when he campaigned in 2016.
“He made a policy announcement on Twitter which, in my opinion, is unofficial and out of character for a president and commander-in-chief.
“If I was one of the generals who advised him, I would ask President Trump to wait for General Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Dunford to advise him on alternatives with regards to the transgender policy.
“In other words, he should not have made that announcement in this way.”
DO YOU SUPPORT Pres. Trump’s transgender military ban? What do you think compelled Trump to do this at this time, in this way, via Twitter?
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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos