Sen. Elizabeth Warren has never been one to stay quiet on any issue, so it's not surprising that she was quick to share her harsh criticism of President Trump's announcement on Wednesday that the military would no longer accept transgender service members. On Twitter, Warren accused Trump of being more concerned with "extreme ideology than military readiness," essentially saying that bigotry was his motivating factor behind this tumultuous decision.
Warren unleashed a series of tweets on Wednesday outlining the reasons why she was frustrated by the news that the military would be "banning" transgender service members. She said that the decision had nothing to do with the capability of transgender people in military roles, and only served as a means for the government to discriminate against transgender people, in an effort to serve the Republican political agenda.
"The only thing – only thing – that matters when it comes to allowing military personnel to serve is whether or not they can handle the job," Warren tweeted. "[Trump] can pretend this is a military decision, but it isn't. Banning troops on gender identity is shameful & makes us less safe."
This move by the Trump administration is an about-face on policy enacted just last year by former Defense Secretary Ash Carter. Carter ended the ban that was in effect on transgender people serving in the military, but unfortunately his progressive action didn't last long once Trump took over the White House. Carter also disapproved of Trump's decision, saying on Wednesday that "to choose service members on other grounds than military qualification is social policy and has no place in our military."
Trump made the announcement about the ban via Twitter on Wednesday morning. His justification cited "tremendous medical costs and disruption" caused by transgender military members, which Trump says distracts from the military's goal of being "focused on decisive and overwhelming victory."
However, a study published last year by research organization The RAND Corporation found that only .1 to .5 percent of active military members were transgender or gender non-conforming. Additionally, the study estimated that only 29 to 129 of active service members would "seek any type of gender transition–related care in a given year," whether hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery. These services would only account for .0038 to .134 percent of the military's $6 billion health care budget, when estimated using figures for fiscal year 2014.
Considering the amount of money this country spends on its military, it's hard to say that the costs estimated to relate to transgender service members would cause any seismic shifts to the military's spending habits or budget. Politicians like Warren need to continue to call out Trump's actions for what they are: bigotry and discrimination.