Mattis Will Be Given Six Months to Implement
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Four weeks to the day President Donald Trump took to Twitter to announce he was banning all transgender service members, the White House is reportedly readying guidance to send to the Pentagon on how it wants the ban to be implemented.
"The White House is expected to send guidance to the Pentagon in coming days on how to implement a new administration ban on transgender people in the military," The Wall Street Journal reports Wednesday night, "issuing a policy that will allow Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to consider a service member’s ability to deploy in deciding whether to kick them out of the military."
A two-and-a-half page memo is the result of four weeks of work from the White House. It states that Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (photo) will be given six months to implement Trump's transgender ban, and will be directed to refuse to allow any new recruits into the nation's armed services if they are transgender. It also details that the Secretary of Defense can discharge any service members who are transgender if they are considered to be unable to deploy or otherwise unable to serve in a war zone or on a military ship.
This news comes exactly 48 hours after the president addressed the nation on how he will move forward with military operations in Afghanistan, which reportedly will include sending an additional 4000 troops to the region.
“When we open our hearts to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice, no place for bigotry and no tolerance for hate,” trump told service members who were on stage for his speech.
It also comes hours after Trump addressed a veterans group Wednesday and praised them for their service.
"Defense officials have been perplexed about how they can legally or morally justify separating open transgender service members from the service, especially those who were invited to identify themselves when the ban was lifted, officials have said," The Wall Street Journal report adds.
Top military leaders have indeed publicly and privately signaled they do not support Trump's ban.
"On a fundamental basis, any patriot that wants to serve and meets all the requirements should be able to serve in our military," Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer said earlier this month in response to the Commander-in-Chief's announced ban.
When the President announced his ban, he did so hours after the home of his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, had been searched by the FBI in a pre-dawn raid.
Two weeks later, Trump stunningly told reporters he believes he is "doing a lot of people a favor" by announcing the ban.
"But the transgender, the military’s working on it now," Trump continued, according to the pool report. "It’s been a very difficult situation and I think I’m doing a lot of people a favor by coming out and just saying it. As you know, it’s been a very complicated issue for the military, it’s been a very confusing issue for the military, and I think I’m doing the military a great favor."
In fact, it has not been a very difficult issue for the military. There have effectively been no problems in the year since transgender service members have been allowed to serve openly. Moreover, military leaders are opposed to Trump's ban.
"I have great respect for the community," Trump, speaking of transgender people, told reporters. "I think I’ve had great support, or I’ve had great support from that community. I got a lot of votes," Trump falsely claimed. Only 14 percent of the LGBT community voted for him, far less than other GOP candidates.
The White House is already being sued over the ban by LGBT civil rights groups.
"The directive to reinstate a ban on open service by transgender people violates both the Equal Protection component of the Fifth Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution," the lawsuit, filed by two LGBT civil rights legal organizations, GLAD and NCLR two weeks ago, reads.
Lambda Legal has also announced it will be suing the Trump administration.
There are an estimated 15,000 transgender service members actively serving. Contrary to the false claims of the president, at least one Republican member of Congress, and anti-LGBT organizations, the estimated cost of transition-related health care for transgender service members would be, at most, $8.4 million annually. Replacing 15,000 troops would be exponentially more expensive.
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Image: DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique A. Pineiro via Flickr