Washington, D.C. – More than 50 Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee, Judiciary Committee, and the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus today wrote to Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. to urge that they not comply with any unconstitutional directive to ban transgender individuals from serving in the United States military.
Today’s letter was led by House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) and House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI). In addition to the letter, Reps. Smith, Conyers, and Cicilline released the following statement:
“President Trump’s recent Twitter announcement banning military service by transgender individuals is not only bad policy, it is unconstitutional. It defies common sense to deny the military these service members’ ‘mission-critical’ skills. No American who is willing and able should be denied the honor and responsibilities that come with serving in our Armed Forces solely on the basis of their status as the member of a protected group.
“Unfortunately, President Trump’s proposed ban is yet another troubling sign of his willingness to make impulsive policy decisions while ignoring military leadership. We appreciated the measured response of Secretary Mattis General Dunford and other military leaders in response to President Trump’s rash announcement of a proposed discriminatory and unjustified ban on military service by transgender individuals. We would urge President Trump to stop making policy via Twitter and to consult America’s professional military leadership before making decisions that affect the lives and safety of our citizens.”
Thousands of transgender individuals are currently serving in the United States Armed Forces. Trump’s July 26th Twitter announcement to ban transgender individuals from the military has received much backlash. More than 50 retired senior military officers recently released a statement opposing the ban on the grounds it would degrade military readiness. Trump’s announcement is particularly troubling in light of recent news reports regarding President Trump’s meetings with Secretary of Defense Mattis and other military leaders to discuss the war in Afghanistan, in which he complained that the U.S. is ‘losing’ and insinuated he should ignore strategic advice from high-ranking military officials by likening the war to the renovation of a New York City restaurant.