The Latest: Military chief says transgender policy to remain
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s decision to bar transgender people from serving in the military (all times local):
The nation’s top military officer says U.S. policy on transgender individuals serving in uniform has not — and will not — change until Defense Secretary Jim Mattis receives the president’s policy direction and Mattis determines how to implement it.
Gen. Joseph Dunford is chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Dunford made the statement in a note Thursday to all service chiefs, commanders and enlisted military leaders.
The Associated Press obtained a copy of the note.
Dunford is responding to Trump’s announcement on Twitter Wednesday that the government will not allow or accept transgender people in the military “in any capacity.”
Dunford says that for now, “we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect.”
A former Army secretary says he’s angry and shocked that President Donald Trump would — in his words — “turn his back on thousands of transgender Americans serving today.”
Eric Fanning served under President Barack Obama and was the first openly gay head of any military service.
Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday to declare a ban on transgender troops serving anywhere in the U.S.
Here’s what Fanning is telling NBC’s “Today Show”: “If you’re a transgender service member anywhere in the world, you are very nervous about what you’re hearing, and now you’re probably very confused and very frightened about what the future holds for you, when your commander in chief tweets a message like this, essentially dismissing your service.”
President Donald Trump’s abrupt ban on transgender troops serving anywhere in the U.S. military caught the Pentagon flat-footed. Defense officials struggled to explain what they called Trump’s “guidance.”
Trump’s ban, posted to Twitter Wednesday rather than any formal announcement, drew bipartisan denunciations and threw currently serving transgender soldiers into limbo.
His tweet said: “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 wrote that he had consulted with “my generals and military experts,” but he didn’t mention Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, the retired Marine general who less than one month ago told the military service chiefs to spend another six months weighing the costs and benefits of allowing transgender individuals to enlist.