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Congressmembers want proof Pentagon advised Trump on transgender ban

Congressmembers want proof Pentagon advised Trump on transgender ban

Pentagon

A total of 114 members of Congress have sent a letter to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis requesting information about President Donald Trump’s directive to ban transgender people in the military.

The Congress members are trying to determine how Trump came to make his decision. Their letter, dated 10 October, demands all correspondence, emails, phone logs and other documentation from the Pentagon to Trump related to the transgender ban.

‘We request information about what discussions or correspondence between the White House and the Pentagon, if any, led President Trump to make his assertion,’ the letter reads.

Without warning on 26 July, Trump announced via Twitter a ban on transgender military personnel. The proclamation blindsided the Joint Chiefs of Staff and reversed the existing military policy allowing open transgender service.

Trumps tweets read:

‘After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow…Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming…victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.’

These Congress members want to know the nature of the ‘consultation’ Trump referenced.

This information is particularly relevant because it seems to contradict a year-long study of transgender service conducted by the RAND Corporation, a military/global policy think tank.

That study found openly transgender military personnel have ‘no significant impact on unit cohesion or operational readiness’ and prompted then Defense Secretary Ash Carter to lift the ban on transgender service.

‘We seek access to these materials in order to determine whether the president, his national security team, and military leaders are actively coordinating policy with one another, or whether the president’s transgender ban announcement reflected a breakdown in communication,’ the Congressional letter says.

Virginia Representative A. Donald McEachin wrote the letter and spearheaded the effort to get his colleagues to sign.

‘We seek information to discover the proof of where and when the Pentagon advised the President that this was the best idea for our country,” McEachin said in a press release.  “If there is proof then we can evaluate that, if there is no proof then the President lied to the American people once again.’

California Representative Adam Schiff, one of the 114 who signed the letter, told the Los Angeles Blade it is important the truth be uncovered.

‘As his announcement so plainly took the military by surprise, it is difficult to give the President’s statement any weight,’ Schiff said. ‘It will be important to understand the true basis of the decision as courts consider ongoing legal challenges to this unjustified action.’

Read the full letter and list of people who signed here.