Why did Trump tweet a reversal of policy toward transgender military personnel? If this reporter in Politico is right, it’s because a House bill which contained funding for his precious border wall was being held up by a bunch of so-called fiscal hawks (that’s their excuse; I suspect the usual bigotry) who didn’t want any Pentagon money used for gender reassignment surgery.
Numerous House conservatives and defense hawks this week had threatened to derail their own legislation if it did not include a prohibition on Pentagon funding for gender reassignment surgeries, which they deem a waste of taxpayer money. But GOP leaders were caught in a pinch between those demands and those of moderate Republicans who considered the proposal blatantly discriminatory.
So the hawks went around DoD Secretary Mattis and directly to the President to get him to pressure the Republican leadership. Did he do just that? Of course not, because he never thinks about consequences. Not even the hawkiest of hawks wanted to debate expelling transgender personnel from the military, but Trump’s tweet said exactly that.
“[P]lease be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “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.”
That went way beyond what anyone in the House would admit wanting him to do.
To make him look like even more of a fool than he already has on this issue, a Rand study commissioned by the Pentagon last year has emerged which shows that the reassignment surgeries would be likely to cost the military between $2.4M and $8.4M annually, in a military health care budget of $6.2 billion. That’s about 0.13 percent.
The military spends $41.6 million annually on Viagra alone, according to the Military Times analysis — roughly five times the estimated spending on transition-related medical care for transgender troops.
The trouble is, Trump can never back down from one of his stupid tweets. He is incapable of admitting he made a mistake. Now. several thousand military personnel who are transgender have had their lives and careers turned upside down because of one impulse by a man who has no self-control.