LGBT

The NSC Had No Readiness Expert When Trump Banned Transgender Service for Readiness

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Trump's ban on transgender military service has been blocked in court for some time now, but the Trump regime's appeal of the ruling is ongoing and opponents of his ban may have found a new way to prove that the ban was announced on a whim with no expert guidance.

We know there was no expert guidance because, according to court records, the National Security Council literally did not have an expert on military personnel and combat readiness when Trump announced his ban.

From Buzzfeed News:

When President Donald Trump issued his July 2017 tweets announcing an end to transgender military service, the National Security Council's expert on military personnel and readiness issues had left her job weeks earlier — leaving the NSC's expert on nuclear issues to fill in while awaiting a replacement.

The information about Rear Admiral David Kriete's role in the run-up to and aftermath of the president's tweets last summer was detailed in emails between the lawyers in a case challenging Trump's latest attempt at implementing his ban that a federal judge attached to a court order on Tuesday.

The Trump regime is arguing that Kriete should not be forced to testify in court. Lawyers representing the White House claim Kirete's conversations with Trump about the ban would be privileged, which is an extremely dubious claim, but I believe the more honest explanation is that they don't want him to testify because he would have to confess that Trump never even spoke to him about it.

I believe that because, if he did advise Trump on the issue, they should want to present that as evidence in court to justify the policy, right? Right now it's as if they're claiming they have evidence to support the ban, but that evidence is privileged.

This is a significant development because the Trump regime has argued in court that a ban on transgender military service is necessary to protect combat readiness, but there's no evidence that it negatively effects combat readiness and, in any case, the National Security Council did not even have an expert on readiness when the ban was announced. Proving that transgender service has a substantive impact on regular operation is necessary to justify taking the extraordinary action of banning transgender people, who are a protected class of people, from service.

Beyond the court room and the exact circumstances in place when Trump announced the ban last year, it has in fact been nearly a year and as far as we know there have been no cases of transgender service members disrupting an ongoing operation. The Pentagon has been accepting new transgender recruits since January of this year and there have been no reports of that causing problems, either.

We can't call anything a 'slam dunk' these days, but the case against Trump's ban on transgender service is probably as close as anything comes.

  • muselet

    Donald Trump doesn’t deal in facts or evidence, and doesn’t typically consult with anyone before making a decision. It’s why there are always three or four mutually-contradictory explanations after he makes a big announcement. His ban on transgender military service is no different from his tariffs or his summit with Kim Jong-un.

    Courts typically defer to the executive branch on claims of privilege, which is why White House lawyers are claiming privilege for David Kriete’s conversations with Trump. However, answering questions like “Were you consulted before Donald Trump’s tweets about transgender military personnel?” would seem not to be injurious to executive privilege.

    Ultimately, it all comes down to the judge’s tolerance for being defamed by the Right.

    –alopecia

    • ninjaf

      Added bonus: Trump has 127 (or something like that) open judges to appoint. *sigh*

  • Aynwrong

    Of course.