On Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump announced via Twitter that transgender individuals won't be allowed to join the military, despite the Pentagon's decision to lift the transgender service ban last year. "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.
"Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you," he said in a succeeding post.
A Pentagon official referred Bustle's request for comment to the White House press department. "We refer all questions about the President's statements to the White House," Captain Jeff A. Davis, Director of Defense Press Operations, said in a statement. "We will continue to work closely with the White House to address the new guidance provided by the Commander-in-Chief on transgender individuals serving the military. We will provide revised guidance to the Department in the near future."
Last June, then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter lifted a ban preventing current members of the military who are transgender from serving openly. As part of this decision, Carter said the military would begin accepting new transgender recruits in mid-2017. "The Defense Department and the military need to avail ourselves of all talent possible in order to remain what we are now – the finest fighting force the world has ever known," Carter said at the time.
However, with the election of Trump to the presidency, it had been an open question whether or not the Pentagon under new leadership would make good on Carter's promise. In May, USA Today reported that the military was in the midst of assessing if and how it would begin accepting new transgender troops.
Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work wrote in a memo obtained by USA Today:
The personnel policies of this Department are designed to enhance the warfighting readiness and lethality of the force that protects our country. We do not intend to reconsider prior decisions unless they cause readiness problems that could lessen our ability to fight, survive and win on the battlefield.
More to come...