Trump: Transgender People Can’t Serve In U.S. Military ‘In Any Capacity’

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump says he will bar transgender individuals from serving “in any capacity” in the U.S. armed forces.

Trump said on Twitter Wednesday that after consulting with “Generals and military experts,” that the government “will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”

Trump added that “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.”

Transgender service members have been able to serve openly in the military since last year, when former Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the ban.

Military chiefs recently announced a delay on allowing transgender people from enlisting. But transgender troops are already serving openly in the military.

Ash Carter, who as secretary of defense last year ended the ban on transgender people serving openly in the military, is criticizing Trump’s decision to ban their service.

Carter issued a statement Wednesday saying that the important thing for choosing who is allowed to serve is whether they are best qualified.

“To choose service members on other grounds than military qualification,” he said, “is social policy and has no place in our military.”

Carter added that transgender individuals already are serving capably and honorably in the military.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon, which appeared to be caught off-guard by Trump’s tweets, is referring all questions about them to the White House.

A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, said in a brief written statement that the Pentagon is working with the White House to “address” what he calls “the new guidance” from the president on transgender individuals serving in the military.

Davis said the Pentagon will provide revised guidance to Defense Department officials “in the near future.”

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(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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