President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that transgender people will no longer be allowed to serve in the U.S. military “in any capacity” ― a stunning reversal of an Obama-era policy that affects thousands of service members.
The move was wholly unexpected. It’s not clear why Trump decided to announce such a significant policy change via Twitter or when it would take effect. His timing is also odd: He shared the news in the midst of Senate Republicans’ high-stakes fight to repeal Obamacare this week.
Trump claims he made the move after consulting with military experts, despite the Pentagon lifting the ban on transgender service members in 2016 after an exhaustive review of its military readiness policies.
“Our mission is to defend this country, and we don’t want barriers unrelated to a person’s qualification to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, airman or Marine who can best accomplish the mission,” then-Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said. “We have to have access to 100% of America’s population for our all-volunteer force to be able to recruit from among them the most highly qualified — and to retain them.”
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