Trump is visiting the UK, wrapping up his official state visit before heading off to meet with the Prime Minister of Ireland.
Citing Trump's recent surprise tweet recognizing LGBT Pride Month, his first ever, Morgan asked, "if you feel that protective of the LGBT community, why did you feel the need to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. Military?" as The Daily Mail reports.
Trump proceeded to rattle off a list of reasons – not one of which were true or accurate.
"Because they take massive amounts of drugs, they have to," after gender reassignment surgery – which not all transgender people choose. "And also – and you're not allowed to take drugs, you know in the military you're not allowed to take any drugs, you can't take an aspirin," which is false. (Active duty troops are discouraged if heading in to combat.)
"And they have to after the operation, they have to, they have no choice, they have to. And you would actually have to break rules and regulations in order to have that," which, again, is false.
Morgan informed the President that the U.S. Military spends more on Viagra for men than it does on healthcare for transgender troops, including surgery.
"I didn't know that," Trump replied, with a curious smirk.
But minutes later, Trump was again repeating the falsehood of high costs of health care and surgery for transgender troops.
"Well, it is what it is, look, and also people were going in and then asking for the operation, and the operation is $200,000, $250,000 and getting the operation, and the recovery period is long and they have to take large amounts of drugs after that, for whatever reason, large amounts," Trump claimed, falsely. (For a look at costs, see Wharton's Public Policy Initiative report, which includes this line: "$438 per transgender service member yearly, including costs of both hormone distribution as well as gender reassignment surgery.")
"And that's not the way it is, and you can't do that," he added. And yet, it has been done, with no negative effect on military readiness or "unit cohesion."
"So I said, yeah, when it came to time to make a decision on that and because of the drugs and also because of the cost of the operation," Trump explained.
But there was never a time Trump was required to make any decision. Official acceptance of open service for transgender troops was underway when he became Commander-in-Chief. On July 26, 2017, Trump stunned the nation with a series of tweets announcing a complete and total ban on transgender troops. He did so without consulting his "generals," as he liked to call them, any military advisors, or even his incoming chief of staff, retired General John Kelly.
In fact, the only ones who were consulted were those behind the plan to discharge all transgender troops: Vice President Mike Pence and the head of an anti-LGBT hate group, Tony Perkins.
Morgan even reminded Trump that transgender service members have been decorated heroes.
"Some transgender people in the U.S. military have won serious gallantry awards, what do you feel about them?" Morgan asked.
"Well I'm proud of them, I think it's great, but you have to have a standard and you have to stick to that standard," he said, which is inaccurate, since standards change over time and he is the one with the power to alter the standards.
"We have a great military and I want to keep it that way and maybe they'd be phenomenal, I think they probably would be," Trump said of transgender troops, "but again you have very strict rules and regulations on drugs and prescription drugs and all of these different things and they blow it out of the water."
'You have to have a standard and you have to stick by that standard.'
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) June 5, 2019
For a quick look debunking Trump's lies from today's interview, take a look at this Twitter thread from Media Matters editor-at-large Parker Malloy.
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