'Will Do So in a Lawful Manner' White House Press Secretary Claims
In the face of apparent push back from the top brass in the armed forces the White House is doubling down. Just one day after President Donald Trump announced he is banning all transgender service members from the U.S. military, his top chiefs have made clear they know nothing about his plans and were not consulted. They also have said they will not implement it without specific direction from the Commander-in-Chief.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders made clear the President will implement his ban, discharging approximately 15,000 active duty service members, simply because they are transgender.
"The White House will work with the Dept. of Defense and all of the relevant parties" the Press Secretary said Thursday afternoon, "to make sure we fully implement this policy moving forward and will do so in a lawful manner."
The addition of the reference to the law indicated the White House is learning the President cannot make policy on the fly and may not be able to discharge 15,000 service members via a tweet.
Huckabee Sanders did not respond to a question from a reporter about how President Trump's ban will affect currently-serving troops who are transgender.
After referring to Trump's ban as "policy," Huckabee Sanders was asked if the President realized "he can't make policy via statements on Twitter."
"I think he was making the announcement of the policy change," she responded.
Asked if the policy has yet to be formulated, Huckabee Sanders said "they will have to work out the details as to how that all moves forward to lawfully implement that policy change."
On Wednesday morning, President Trump tweeted:
"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."
It appears clear Trump did not consult with his generals.
Huckabee Sanders did not refer to the purported medical costs of transgender service members who choose to transition, which has been exponentially exaggerated by anti-LGBT activists. Nor did she repeat the debunked claims she made Wednesday, that transgender service members interfere with "military readiness and cohesion."
A White House official Wednesday told Axios' Jonathan Swan the decision was purely political, saying it "forces Democrats in rust belt states like Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, to take complete ownership of this issue."
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