In a series of tweets on Wednesday morning, Donald Trump declared a ban on transgender individuals serving in the military.
In his announcement, Trump alleged that “the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail” was the reasoning behind the ban, and stated that he had discussed the matter with “his Generals and military experts” before reaching his decision.
This ban comes in the wake of the House of Representatives voting down Hartzler Amendment, an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that sought to bar the Department of Defense from funding medical treatment “related to gender transition.”
The amendment was voted down 214-209 earlier in July after calls from organizations like the ACLU about the ban’s unconstitutionality.
The original ban on transgender individuals serving in the armed forces was lifted last June by then-president Barack Obama.
This ban cracks the facade of Trump as an ally to the LGBTQ community, a position he claimed during the presidential campaign.
Sources close to the president told reporters on Wednesday that the ban was at least in part a political move, this time to push Midwestern Democrats into a potentially unpopular stance with their constituents.
A CNN reporter relayed that the Department of Defense was not consulted before the ban was announced.
Opponents of this ban have been quick to point out that the cost of healthcare for transgender people serving in the military makes little difference in the military’s total healthcare costs. A study conducted by the RAND National Defense Research Institute estimated that gender transition-related healthcare for the active component of the military would increase overall active-component healthcare costs between .04 and .13 percent.
Trump and the Pentagon have yet to elaborate on how this ban will be implemented, and what the implementation will mean for the transgender individuals already serving in the military.
Organizations like Amnesty International and VoteVets came out quickly against the ban, and the ACLU issued a statement that strongly condemned Trump’s decision.
“This is an outrageous and desperate action,” senior staff attorney Joshua Block said in the statement. “The thousands of transgender service members serving on the front lines for this country deserve better than a commander-in-chief who rejects their basic humanity.”