Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Tuesday he has advised President Trump and administration officials not to ban transgender troops, saying any individual who is serving the country “should be afforded the opportunity to continue to serve.”
Asked by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) whether he agrees currently serving transgender troops have served with “honor and valor,” Dunford replied, “I do.”
“I believe that any individual who meets the physical and mental standards and is worldwide deployable and is currently serving should be afforded the opportunity to continue to serve,” continued Dunford.
“I can promise that that would be my advice,” he said. “What I just articulated is the advice I provided in private, and I’ve just provided in public.”
In July, Trump announced on Twitter that he planned to ban all transgender military service.
In August, Trump signed a presidential memo prohibiting the military from enlisting transgender people and from using funds to pay for gender transition-related surgery, while also giving Defense Secretary James Mattis six months to determine what to do with transgender troops who are currently serving in the military.
The Hill added:
Gillibrand, Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.), committee ranking member Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) have introduced a bill that would block Trump’s transgender ban by prohibiting the Pentagon from involuntarily separating or denying the re-enlistment of transgender troops solely on the basis of gender identity.
Asked by Gillibrand on Tuesday whether he’s met with transgender troops since Trump’s announcement, Dunford said he has not, but committed to do so.
“I have not since I guess August when the announcement was made,” he said, “but I will certainly do that.”