WASHINGTON D.C. — President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he plans to ban transgender individuals from serving “in any capacity” in the US armed forces.
The decision reversed a policy initially approved by the Defense Department under President Barack Obama, which was still under final review. Defense Secretary James Mattis announced last month that he was delaying enactment of the plan to begin allowing transgender individuals to join the US military.
“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,” Trump said in a series of tweets Wednesday morning. “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.”
Governor Dannel Malloy said in response:
“President Trump’s announcement that he plans to ban transgender individuals from serving in our military is ignorant and profoundly troubling. The reality is that a person’s gender identity or expression has nothing to do with their willingness or ability to defend our nation. Any able person who wishes to serve in the military should have that right–regardless of race, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. In recent years, our military has made great strides to be more inclusive. The President’s announcement sends a frightening signal to the public that our government condones discrimination and raises serious questions about what other advancements towards inclusion in the military may also be in jeopardy. For our part, we have been fierce and vocal advocates for the rights of transgender individuals in Connecticut, and we will not abandon them now. This is a wrong-minded and harmful policy and we will explore our options for what can be done to stop it.”
Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said:
“Excluding citizens from public service is not a strong or decent foundation for policy-making of any kind, and government especially should represent the people it serves. This policy is reckless and dangerous—and it impugns the integrity of transgender men and women who are already honorably serving in our nation’s military. Connecticut supports its LGBTQ residents, we expect Washington to as well. I urge the President to instead focus his time and energy in service to the values of the American people, our economy, and our standing as a world leader.”
Senator Chris Murphy praised transgender individuals, while pledging to overturn the policy:
“Anyone who wants to and is qualified to serve in our military should be able to do so, period. Discrimination should have no place in our Armed Forces. Murphy. “There are thousands of members of the transgender community who are currently bravely and ably serving our country today. I’ll work with my colleagues to overturn this hateful policy.”
Representative Joe Courtney also said in a statement:
President Trump’s statement apparently banning transgender members of the military, even those now serving, is the height of irresponsibility. His tweet was issued at the same time the Department of Defense is undergoing a six-month comprehensive review of the policy allowing transgender Americans to serve in the military. Undercutting their work, and setting military policy by tweet, is reckless and disrespectful in the extreme.
The president’s statement also flies in the face of the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen, who just yesterday called for equal treatment of qualified and well-trained service members regardless of sexual orientation. Since our nation eliminated racial segregation in the military 69 years ago today, the United States has expanded opportunity for more Americans, regardless of race, gender or sexual identity, to wear our nation’s uniform. This is a clear reversal of that legacy which fundamentally recognizes that it is in our nation’s best interest to find the “best and brightest”.
Furthermore, the president’s use of the phrase ‘my generals’ when referring to the senior commanders of the United States Armed Forces flies in the face of our democratic norms and institutions. This is a nation of laws, not rulers. While the president is the Commander in Chief of the military, military leaders do not serve him alone. They took an oath to preserve and protect the Constitution, not any one person