President Trump’s announcement via Twitter last week that he would discontinue administrative directives ordering the armed forces to accommodate transgender men and women in the military has met with an all-too-predictable response. Democrats are apoplectic, engaging in a mix of virtue signaling and flag waving. Thus my congressman, U.S. Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.), a co-chairman of the LGBT Equality Caucus, huffed: “The President’s action today is despicable . . . There are thousands of transgender people serving in the Armed Forces. They are heroes. They deserve our thanks.”
Many Republicans objected as well. U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a prepared statement, “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.”
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine General Joseph Dunford, announced the current policy would remain in place for now. “In the meantime,” Dunford said, “we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect . . . As importantly, given the current fight and the challenges we face, we will all remain focused on accomplishing our assigned missions.”
As usual, the press reported Dunford’s response as show of resistance to the policy change and as military “pushback” to the president, something liberals approve only when it is directed against a Republican. And it is doubtful that his memo indicates the military’s disagreement with changing the policy. A recent poll found only 12 percent of military personnel viewed allowing transgenders to serve in the military as “helpful,” while 41 percent found it “hurtful.” If anything, the memo was only a reminder that since a presidential tweet does not constitute policy; the current approach will remain in place until such time as the president orders the secretary of defense to formally revoke the Obama policy; and the secretary of defense issues guidance on how to implement the new rules.