Lawmakers blast Trump’s transgender military ban
Gillibrand vows to introduce bill to reverse order
President Donald Trump’s announcement Wednesday via Twitter that he had decided to ban transgender Americans from serving in the U.S. military was met with fierce opposition by local Democratic members of Congress, who charged that the commander in chief’s move could harm the nation’s armed forces.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), the ranking member of the Personnel Subcommittee on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said she would introduce legislation to overturn the ban.
“This morning, transgender service members put on their uniform and showed up for their military duties to be told by their commander in chief via Twitter that he doesn’t want them in ‘any capacity.’ These service members are willing to die for their country, and this is an insult to their brave and honorable service. This new directive is harmful, misguided, and weakens, not strengthens, our military,” Gillibrand said in a statement on Wednesday.
Earlier that day, Trump issued a series of tweets announcing his decision.
“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,” the president tweeted.
New York’s senior senator, Democrat Chuck Schumer, called the president’s decision un-American.
“The America I know promises that everyone is equal under law, and that means those Americans who are qualified and meet military standards should be allowed to serve. We must be clear-eyed about the threats to our civil rights and unified in opposition to any and every attempt to erode them. I will fight tooth and nail against any policy that discriminates these patriots and erodes the capability of our military,” Schumer stated.
Members of House were also swift in their condemnation.
“Donald Trump’s decision to ban transgender individuals from the armed forces insults the principle that all Americans, regardless of their gender identity, have the right to participate fully in our civil society,” said U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-Central Brooklyn). “This change in policy represents an attempt to define transgender people as ‘the other,’ whose interests are not entitled to respect. I reject that attack on our rights, and I am prepared to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with transgender individuals across this nation.”
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan-Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst) called the ban cruel and appalling.
“The arguments against allowing transgender service members to serve openly in our military reflect the same arguments that have been used against every other group that has been prohibited from serving in our country’s history, including black and Latino men, women, gays, lesbians and bisexuals. Each time the doors of our military are opened to better reflect the diversity of our nation, the same tired and disproven arguments are brought back: that any individual within that new group, regardless of their ability, is unfit to serve and that they will disrupt unit cohesion. Not once have these cries been proven right,” Nadler said in a statement.
U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Canarsie-Sheepshead Bay-Coney Island) tweeted that Trump’s controversial move on Wednesday came on the anniversary of the day President Harry Truman desegregated the armed forces.
“Sixty-nine yrs ago today Harry Truman desegregated the military. That’s called presidential leadership,” Jeffries tweeted.
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