Trump (Credit: Gage Skidmore, via Wikimedia Commons).
President Donald Trump is defending his proposed ban on transgender individuals serving in the U.S. military, claiming that he’s doing the military a favor, reports Politico.
“It’s been a very difficult situation, and I think I’m doing a lot of people a favor by coming out and just saying it,” Trump said at a press conference from his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. “As you know, it’s been a very complicated issue for the military. It’s been a very confusing issue for the military, and I think I’m doing the military a great favor.”
Yet so far the ban remains just a proposal. Since Trump announced his proposed ban via Twitter two weeks ago, Pentagon officials have repeatedly stated that they will not change current policy on transgender troops until the White House provides them with in-depth, clearer guidance on how to implement such a ban.
Five transgender service members have since sued to have any transgender ban declared unconstitutional, and to stop the White House and Pentagon from implementing such a policy.
Despite backlash from the LGBTQ community over the ban, Trump claims he got significant support from the community during the 2016 presidential election.
“I have great respect for the community. I think I’ve had great support, or I’ve had great support from that community,” Trump said. “I got a lot of votes. But the transgender, the military’s working on it now.”
LGBTQ groups blasted the president for his latest statements doubling down on the proposed ban.
“President Trump’s shameful comments are an absolute insult to our nation’s armed forces and a slap in the face to the thousands of transgender service members who are willing to risk their lives every day for this country,” Ashley Broadway-Mack, the president of the American Military Partners Association, said in a statement.
“Their selfless service and sacrifice for this nation is no ‘complicated issue.’ Military leadership and the far majority of Americans support all of our nation’s heroes, and President Trump should start doing the same.”
“Donald Trump’s delusional comments regarding his reckless ban on transgender troops are demonstrably false and lack any basis in reality,” Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement.
“Donald Trump’s attack on transgender troops weakens our military and is a betrayal of those who wear the uniform,” Griffin added. “Fifty-six retired admirals and generals, Republican and Democrat elected officials, and a majority of the American public have all condemned Trump’s misguided and despicable policy that will do nothing but undermine military readiness and harm brave transgender service members and their families.”
GLAAD, a frequent critic of the president, issued a series of tweets challenging Trump’s contention that he has “respect” for the LGBTQ community.
GLAAD also referred its followers back to a previous statement put out by the group’s CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis, following Trump’s initial tweets proposing the ban.
“Trump has never been a friend to LGBTQ Americans,” Ellis said, “and this action couldn’t make that any more clear.”