Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He banned transgendered people from serving in the military, via Twitter, without telling the Pentagon first.

Trump's three-tweet statement cited unspecified (and likely imaginary) "costs" and called transgendered servicemembers a "burden" and a "disruption." Approximately 15,000 members of the US military identify as transgendered. Trump's tweets did not make clear whether they could expect to be summarily discharged.

Trump referred to "my Generals and military experts" as the impetus behind the decision. However, the Department of Defense knew nothing about the decision until this morning, and a White House aide confirmed that this was a deliberate attempt to create a political wedge issue for Democrats.

July 26 was also the date of President Truman's Executive Order 9981, which desegregated the military, notwithstanding fears that mixed-race units would undermine morale and readiness. Trump, who once compared his sexual conquests to the service in Vietnam he avoided, had been mostly quiet on the subject of gender and sexuality issues, though as a candidate he did promise to "fight for" LGBT Americans. 

Why is this a bad thing?

  • United States servicemembers are not a burden.
  • United States servicemembers are not a disruption.
  • Nothing that puts tens of thousands of American servicemembers in immediate fear for their jobs and their safety is good policy.
  • The president is the commander-in-chief of the United States military, including its generals, and cannot deflect responsibility for military decisions onto subordinates.