By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS and EILEEN SULLIVAN
© 2017 New York Times News Service
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that the United States will not “accept or allow” transgender people in the U.S. military, saying U.S. forces “must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory” and could not afford to accommodate themTrump made the surprise declaration in a series of posts on Twitter, saying he had come to the decision after consulting with generals and military experts, whom he did not name.
“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. “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 permitted to serve openly in the military since last year.
The president’s announcement came amid debate on Capitol Hill over the Obama-era practice of requiring the Pentagon to pay for medical treatment related to gender transition. The dispute has unfolded as Congress considers a nearly $700 billion spending bill to fund the Pentagon. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., has proposed an amendment that would bar the Pentagon from spending money on transition surgery or related hormone therapy.
The same measure narrowly failed this month in the House, with some Republicans joining Democrats to reject it. But some conservative Republicans have said they would not support the military spending measure without the language banning money for gender transition.