John McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, on Wednesday voiced his opposition to President Trump’s sudden pronouncement that transgender people would be prohibited from serving in the U.S. military.
“The President’s tweet this morning regarding transgender Americans in the military is yet another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter,” the Arizona Republican said in a statement.
The Senator was referring to Trump’s chosen way of disclosing his abrupt policy change. On Wednesday morning, Trump tweeted: “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.”
McCain noted that the President’s tweet was unclear as the Department of Defense “has already decided to allow currently-serving transgender individuals to stay in the military, and many are serving honorably today. Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving.”
The Obama administration lifted the ban on transgender troops just last year. McCain pointed out that the Pentagon is currently engaged in a study regarding “the medical obligations it would incur, the impact on military readiness, and related questions associated with the accession of transgender individuals.”
“I do not believe that any new policy decision is appropriate until that study is complete and thoroughly reviewed by the Secretary of Defense, our military leadership, and the Congress,” he added.
“There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train and deploy to leave the military — regardless of their gender identity. We should all be guided by the principle that any American who wants to serve our country and is able to meet the standards should have the opportunity to do so — and should be treated as the patriots they are,” McCain continued.
He concluded by saying that he “will continue to follow closely and conduct oversight on the issue of transgender individuals serving in the military.”