Donald Trump

President Trump Announces Transgender Military Service Ban: Reaction in Southern California

The decision reverses a move made by President Barack Obama last year

"Disgusting," "ugly," "un-American" and "hateful" were among the reactions state and Southern California Democratic political leaders had Wednesday to President Donald Trump's announcement that transgender people will be barred from serving in the military.

Trump made the announcement in a series of morning tweets. It comes about a year after the lifting of the ban.

"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 wrote.

He added, "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."

The decision reverses a move made by President Barack Obama last year when he announced that transgender people could serve openly in the military.

"No one who is patriotic, courageous and selfless enough to serve in the armed forces should be denied that opportunity because of who they are," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. "The president's decision to bar transgender Americans from military service is at odds with the values of freedom and equality that our men and women in uniform fight for every day."

Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Los Angeles, who spent four years on active duty with the U.S. Air Force and continues to serve in the reserves, said Trump's action "is not based on facts, it is based on naked bigotry."

"I know because I served on active duty," Lieu said. "The military doesn't care what your sexual orientation or identity is, or who you love. It cares about whether you can shoot straight and complete the mission. The president's discriminatory decision harms our military readiness for our volunteer-based military. Thousands of transgender Americans are already in the military."

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, who has become one of Trump's most vocal critics in Washington, accused the president of breaking his promise to support the LGBT community.

"In February, President Trump made an unequivocal promise to the LGBT community to maintain existing federal non-discrimination protections," Schiff said. "With his announcement this morning, Trump has reneged on his promise to the American people by disallowing transgender people to serve `in any capacity' in the U.S. military. Simply put, Trump's anti-transgender pronouncement is ugly and wrong because discrimination is never patriotic; allowing all who love this country to serve, is."

California's two U.S. senators, both Democrats, also blasted the announcement, with Sen. Kamala Harris calling it "discriminatory, wrong and un-American."

"We should not punish or turn away courageous people who are willing to risk their lives to serve our country -- we should embrace them," Harris said. "The president's claim that the service of transgender people impacts military readiness is not backed up by facts, nor is it publicly supported by our military leadership."

Rep. Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, called the action "disgusting."

"It's startling he would make our country less safe by recklessly preventing a group of patriots from continuing to serve their country," she said. "I proudly stand behind our transgender community as they are cowardly assaulted by the president from his social media account."

A host of celebrities also weighed in on the announcement via Twitter. Included among them was one of the nation's most well-known transgender individuals -- Caitlyn Jenner.

"There are 15,000 patriotic transgender Americans in the US military fighting for all of us. What happened to your promise to fight for them?" Jenner wrote.

Jenner re-tweeted one of Trump's posts from June 2016, in the midst of the presidential campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton. That post from Trump read, "Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs."

Civil rights organization Equality California issued a statement, calling the ban "unconscionable."

"Donald Trump’s attack on transgender service members who are serving with distinction and valor and who put their lives on the line every day to protect our country is unconscionable," the statement said. "It is blatant discrimination and plays on the kind of hate and bigotry that we saw during his campaign and throughout his presidency. He has once again taken steps to target the LGBTQ community and seems intent on taking our armed forces back to a time of secrecy and intimidation."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein added, "All Americans who are fit and willing to serve our country in the military should be given the opportunity to do so. President Obama recognized this and rightly decided that transgender individuals shold be allowed to serve."

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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