Trump erupted social media on Wednesday when he tweeted his intent to ban transgender Americans from the military. If implemented, the ban would reverse the Obama administration’s decision to allow transgender individuals to “serve openly”. Although earning the Left’s usual accusations of bigotry and divisiveness, Trump also received mixed signals from his own camp.
John McCain, who has never shied away from bashing Trump, announced his criticism early Wednesday morning. “The Department of Defense has already decided to allow currently-serving transgender individuals to stay in the military, and many are serving honorably today,” McCain stated. “Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving…We should all be guided by the principle that any American who wants to serve our country and is able to meet the standards should have the opportunity to do so–and should be treated as the patriots they are.”
Many Republicans agree with McCain, arguing that sexual orientation should not prevent a person from serving our country and that such a ban constitutes discrimination. Those in opposition include Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Alaska), and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina).
Although generating significant kickback, Trump’s military ban was also praised by many on the Right for attempting to curb military spending and ensure mental and physical readiness among all servicemen.
Under the Obama administration’s executive ruling, the military would have been responsible for funding sex reassignment surgeries expected to cost taxpayers an upwards of $1 billion over the next ten years. Many proponents argue that taxpayers should not be forced to pay for such surgeries and that the money could be better spent helping servicemen with critical needs. One alternative, of course, is to simply ban such funding, while continuing to allow transgender individuals to serve. Such a proposition was debated and ultimately shut down by the House earlier this month.
The military also demands that every member upholds rigorous physical and mental requirements; all individuals displaying suicidal tendencies are, for example, disqualified. According to The Trevor Project, roughly 40% of transgender adults have attempted suicide, an astronomical number especially when compared to the national average among other population groups. Dr. Ryan Anderson reported similar figures when he noted that transgender individuals who have undergone gender reassignment surgery are 19 times more likely to die from suicide. Such statistics pose a serious dilemma as to whether the military (and your tax dollars) should fund programs to offset these tendencies and whether additional screenings are necessary to ensure that transgender servicemen meet the mental requirements.
Anderson also argues that servicemen may be called to combat at any time, a risk threatening to interfere with the follow-ups and hormone treatments required after sex reassignment surgeries.
The Pentagon has yet to enforce Trump’s military ban. In the meantime, Trump’s tweet continues to stir heated debate both along party lines and within the GOP.