In a series of Tweets on Wednesday morning, President Trump declared a ban on transgender people serving openly in the United States military citing "military experts".
Reports circulated on Tuesday that Vice President Mike Pence was lobbying hard for a ban against transgender people. Pence has a long history of working against LGBTQ rights, notably during his tenure as Indiana Governor when he was unsuccessful at pushing anti-LGBTQ legislation.
According to LGBTNation, Stephen Peters, The National Press Secretary for the Human Rights Campaign and former marine discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" said:
"Instead of undermining the Pentagon and shamefully trying to rip away medically necessary health care from troops who are putting their lives on the line for our nation, Vice President Pence should be working to ensure all service members and their families are getting the support and resources they need and deserve, regardless of their gender identityor sexual orientation. Vice President Pence must stop this deeply troubling and patently unpatriotic assault on military families."
Trump, who had claimed to be a 'champion' and 'real friend' of the LGBT community in 2016, has once again changed his tune. Trump's decision was immediately blasted by Rep. Ted Lieu:
"I served on active duty in the military, and I can tell you: We don’t care about gender, orientation or identity or who you love," he said. "We just care if you can shoot straight and complete the mission."
Last year, The Pentagon had ended the ban on transgender people serving in the military. It is unclear how this latest declaration will affect currently-enlisted transgender people.
According to a tweet from reporter Jonathan Swan, it appears this decision was made for political, rather than militaristic reasons, quoting a Trump official:
"This forces Democrats in Rust Belt states like Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, to take complete ownership of the issue. How will the blue collar voters in these states respond when senators up for re-election in 2018 like Debbie Stabenow are forced to make their opposition to this a key plank of their campaigns?"