Trump Announces Ban on Transgender Military Service Via Tweet

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Trump enraged a whole lot of people and delighted a small few this morning by arbitrarily announcing that transgender people will not be allowed to serve in the military in "any capacity."

Trump is wrong about the costs of transgender medical care, and he's wrong about transgender service members posing a "burden," but he may also be wrong about the policy.

I say he "arbitrarily" announced this ban because it appears that no one else knew about it. Secretary of Defense James Mattis is currently on vacation and the Pentagon is deferring all questions to the White House.

Trump’s tweets Wednesday also came more than an hour before the Defense Department released its own brief statement on the matter, in which it referred "all questions about the President's statements to the White House."

The Department of Defense website still reflects information about the policy change implemented by Carter in 2016.

Here's more from the Wall Street Journal:

The presidential announcement took the Defense Department by surprise.

“The tweet was the first we heard about it,” said a defense official familiar with the matter. [...]

A report commissioned by the Pentagon on the effects of allowing transgender individuals to serve openly, released in May 2016, found that policy shift would have little to no impact and negligible costs on military cohesion or readiness. The study, conducted by the Rand Corp., found that between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender individuals serve on active duty, amounting to about 0.05% of the total U.S. active force. The study pegged the likely estimate at 2,450.

There are approximately 15,000 transgender individuals serving in the military today and it's not clear what this will mean for them. Banning transgender service does not mean there will be no transgender service members, it simply means they will have to hide it. It's Don't Ask Don't Tell 2.0, and possibly worse version at that. Transgender service members could be forced to hide their gender identity and their sexual orientation as it pertains to their true identity.

The ACLU appears to be gearing up for a fight, but as far as we know this policy only exists in Trump's tweets right now. There's been no official dictation or written orders handed down.

The Pentagon spends fives times as much on Viagra as it does transgender-specific medical care, by the way.

“The implication is that even in the most extreme scenario that we were able to identify … we expect only a 0.13-percent ($8.4 million out of $6.2 billion) increase in health care spending,” Rand's authors concluded.

By contrast, total military spending on erectile dysfunction medicines amounts to $84 million annually, according to an analysis by the Military Times — 10 times the cost of annual transition-related medical care for active duty transgender servicemembers.

The military spends $41.6 million annually on Viagra alone, according to the Military Times analysis — roughly five times the estimated spending on transition-related medical care for transgender troops.

We also spend more on Trump's trips to the Mar-a-Lago than transgender medical care.

  • Badgerite
  • Badgerite

    Bob Cesca tweet: “There are reasons to question John McCain’s record. But today he voted against full repeal of the ACA and spoke against Biff’s trans tweet.” Bless him.

  • Username1016

    Way to just derail real people’s lives and careers on a whim. What an asshole.

  • Aynwrong

    Anyone who was under the impression that Trump was ever going to do anything that was pro LGBTQ rights should feel free to leave their heads buried quite firmly up their own ass.

    • Victor the Crab

      Don’t be surprised if this doesn’t stop at transgender people. We could see the return of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, or worse.

  • Badgerite

    Said it before and will say it again. POS.

  • Ellen Kuhlmann

    this really isn’t a surprise -we knew his slogan “Make America Great Again” was read as make America white, Christian, and shore up the crumbling patriarchic hierarchy again by a huge hunk of his supporters. I guess I’m just suspicious of the timing -why now? If its to make an impact on the 2018 elections would seem a bit early. More likely he wants to distract us from other nefarious doings.

    • Draxiar

      Could well be to firm support in his base since his peripheral supporters are starting to peel away.

  • ninjaf

    Apparently, we can thank Mike Pence for this.
    “Insiders say the move—pushed by Vice President Pence—was designed to achieve a political purpose, not an explicitly military one.”

    • muselet

      Okay, that narrows the search for who Jonathan Swan’s informant was.


  • muselet

    Jonathan Swan from Axios tweeted a quote from an administration official, sadly unnamed:

    This forces Democrats in Rust Belt states like Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, to take complete ownership of this issue. How will the blue collar voters in these states respond when senators up for re-election in 2018 like Debbie Stabenow are forced to make their opposition to this a key plank of their campaigns?

    All of Donald Trump’s huffing and puffing about “decisive and overwhelming victory” and “tremendous medical costs and disruption” is mere camouflage for a crude political calculation. Of course.


  • Nefercat

    Knowing that he is doing this to throw a chunk of red meat to his base is infuriating enough. Knowing that a bonus for him is that he is getting off on showing what a macho stud he is by beating up on those less powerful than himself is even more infuriating.