President Trump’s decision to ban transgender people from the military is reportedly moving closer to becoming policy. On Wednesday evening, The Wall Street Journal reported that White House officials were preparing to send the Pentagon a memo detailing the ban’s guidelines.
Trump administration staffers who saw the two and a half page memo told The Journal that it instructs Defense Secretary James Mattis to deny transgender recruits and immediately stop spending on medical treatment for current transgender troops. The memo also allows Mattis to decide whether transgender troops who are currently serving will be discharged.
From The Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Mattis under the new policy is expected to consider “deployability”—the ability to serve in a war zone, participate in exercises or live for months on a ship—as the primary legal means to decide whether to separate service members from the military, the officials said.
Trump announced his intention to ban trans people from the military through a series of tweets in July. Citing excessive costs, Trump declared that the military “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.” However, a study commissioned by the Pentagon estimated that trans medical care would cost the military $8.4 million — a small price compared to the estimated $1 trillion it will spend on 5-35 fighter jets.
The suggestion that troops who are either transitioning or have transitioned inhibits their ability to be deployed is expected to encounter further criticism. And, despite the fact that Trump thinks his ban is a “favor” to the country, Republican and Democratic lawmakers have openly criticized his decision.