“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.” – PRESIDENT TRUMP
“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,” President Trump said during a news conference at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey. The President also said the military is “working on it now” with respect to when it will take place.
At the same time the President claimed he has “great respect” for the LGBTQ+ community while denying that his ban amounts to a betrayal of his campaign promise to protect them. He also claimed he gets “great support” from the LGBTQ+ community while he continued to defend his series of tweets announcing the ban on July 26th. “Look, I have great respect for the community. I think I have great support, or have had great support from that community. I got a lot of votes,’ President Trump said. “But the transgender – the military is working on it now. They’re doing the work. 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.”
Not all military leaders agree with Trump’s worldview however. Navy Secretary Richard Spencer went public with his view on Thursday by saying, “As I said before, on a fundamental basis, any patriot that wants to serve and meets all the requirements should be able to serve in our military.” Spencer also said that he is prepared to follow any order, even if he disagrees with it. It contradicts a statement he previously made in July where he said the military should not be a “Petri dish for social experiments.” He clarified his stance by saying that the military should have the same policy across all departments. “We have to work together, including all our service people, to make sure that they are given what they need,” Spencer said, “whether that be spiritually, whether that be psychologically, whether that’s materialistically, to fight forward, so readiness is the key and lethality is the product.”
Just this week, five transgender members of the Armed Forces filed a lawsuit against the President and other national security officials in an attempt to block the ban. To date, no official order has been issued. Recently General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, has said there will be no changes until Defense Secretary James Mattis issues implementation guidance at the president’s direction. “In the meantime,” Dunford said, “we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect.”