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More than 50 Democrats have written a letter urging Secretary of Defense James Mattis ignore President Donald Trump’s announcement banning transgenders from the military.
The Democratic House members called the announcement “unconstitutional” and further argued Friday that transgenders do not harm combat readiness.
“As Members of Congress with an abiding interest in our nation’s military and its policies towards the LGBTQ community, we write to not only express our strong opposition to President Trump’s recent tweets seeking to ban transgender individuals from the military, but to remind you not to comply with any unconstitutional directive which may ultimately be issued,” Democrats wrote in the letter. “We reject the premise that the presence of transgender troops interferes with the morale or combat readiness of our armed forces.”
The House Democrats continued by asking Mattis “at a minimum” not to kick out any transgender troops until his policy review on the matter is fully conducted and the results sent back to Congress.
Currently, the Pentagon has not received any official direction on implementing the transgender ban, which Trump announced via Twitter on July 26. Since then, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford has stated that “there will be no modifications to the current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance.”
Moreover, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft pledged earlier this week not to “break faith” with all 13 open transgender members of the Coast Guard, in an apparent pushback against Trump’s announcement.
“We have made an investment in you and you have made an investment in the Coast Guard, and I will not break faith,” Zukunft said at an event Tuesday hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
However, the Department of Homeland Security and Coast Guard later confirmed to The Daily Caller News Foundation that the Coast Guard will follow Pentagon policy on the matter once it’s issued via official channels.
For Democrats, the reason Trump’s announcement is unconstitutional is because “transgender people are protected against discrimination on the basis of sex…as well as on the basis of their transgender status.”
The letter noted that Republicans have also criticized Trump’s announcement, citing GOP Sen. John McCain’s statement that “push[ing] out those who have devoted their lives to this country would be ugly and discriminatory in the extreme.”
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