Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Wednesday came to the defense of Transgender Americans after President Trump said on Twitter that he would ban transgender people from any military service, a move that would represent a major shift in military policy.
“The President’s tweet this morning regarding transgender Americans in the military is yet another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter,” McCain said in a statement.
“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,” Trump tweeted.
McCain said the statement was unclear, as the Department of Defense “has already decided to allow currently-serving transgender individuals to stay in the military, and many are serving honorably today. Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving.”
The Arizona senator noted that the Pentagon is currently conducting a study on “the medical obligations it would incur, the impact on military readiness, and related questions associated with the accession of transgender individuals” who wish to join the military.
“I do not believe that any new policy decision is appropriate until that study is complete and thoroughly reviewed by the Secretary of Defense, our military leadership, and the Congress,” he said.
McCain says he believes “there is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train and deploy to leave the military — regardless of their gender identity. 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.”
He adds that the Senate Armed Services Committee “will continue to follow closely and conduct oversight on the issue of transgender individuals serving in the military.”
In the wake of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, then-candidate Trump called himself a “real friend” of the LGBT community and accused Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton of prioritizing “immigration policies that bring Islamic extremists” into the U.S.
“Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs,” he tweeted in June.
Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2016