Transgender individuals have been barred from serving “in any capacity” in the U.S. armed forces, President Trump wrote on a tweet.With almost a thousand Americans serving in the US military,this policy could affect thousands of them and others hoping to serve.
Donald Trump announced the move on Twitter, He said the military would not “allow or accept” transgender service members, reversing a policy begun by the Obama administration last year.
The fate is not clear for the about 1,300 to 16,000 transgender service member now in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Estimates vary widely, from about 1,300 to 16,000 members of the armed services who are transgender.
A Pentagon spokesman described Trump's Twitter post as "new guidance" rather than an order from the commander-in-chief, and said the Pentagon would issue "revised guidance" to the military "in the near future."
LGBT groups vowed to challenge Trump in court, and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, all but urged the Pentagon to ignore the tweet, saying there is "no reason" to change current policy.
In a series of tweets, the president said he had consulted with "my Generals and military experts” in deciding to reverse the current policy.
“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," he wrote.
A study commissioned by the Pentagon last year found the expected medical costs to be negligible.
It wasn't immediately clear when Trump's decision might be implemented by the Pentagon.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis is out of Washington on vacation this week and the Pentagon appeared caught off guard by the president's tweet. Military officials referred all questions to the White House.
"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," Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said in a statement. "We will provide revised guidance to the Department in the near future."