President Trump announced on Wednesday morning that the U.S. military would not “accept or allow” any transgender service members.

In a series of tweets, the commander in chief argued that too much is at stake in the military’s current operations for it to be “burdened” by the medical costs of transgender people or the “disruption” he says transgender service members would cause.


After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow……

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017

….Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming…..

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017

….victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017

The content of Trump’s statement is at odds with the current Department of Defense policy that was crafted with Armed Services leadership, as well as medical and personnel experts.

From the Defense Department website:

“Transgender service members may serve openly. They may not be discharged or separated from the military solely on the basis of their gender identity.

As with other major presidential announcements from Trump on Twitter, there will likely be extraordinary backlash to this statement from liberal and moderate circles.”

When contacted by Yahoo News, a Pentagon spokesperson said, “Right now we are referring all questions on the tweets to the White House.”

At the Wednesday afternoon press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about how Trump’s policies would affect current transgender service members.

“That’s something that the Department of Defense and the White House will have to work together [on] as implementation takes place and is done so lawfully,” Sanders said.

She did not provide any additional information when asked whether troops currently serving overseas in the Middle East would be immediately discharged and sent home.

Though Trump’s announcement may feel sudden, there have been rumblings that some officers in the military were not comfortable with the current policy.

Earlier this month, for instance, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced that there would be a six-month delay in implementing recruitment policies for transgender Americans so that military chiefs could determine how they would affect the force’s “readiness or lethality.”

Estimates vary concerning the transgender community’s presence in the military. The National Center for Transgender Equality estimates that more than 15,000 transgender individuals are currently serving in the military. But the RAND Corporation, a global policy think tank, puts the figure between 1,320 to 6,630.

According to a RAND study from June 2016, only a subset (between 29 and 129) would pursue treatment related to gender transition each year. The researchers concluded that these treatments would increase health care costs for active-duty service members by $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually — a 0.04- to 0.13-percent increase.

On the campaign trail, Trump reached out to the LGBT community and repeatedly promised to protect them from terrorism.

Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2016

Trump’s daughter and top adviser Ivanka Trump has also expressed support for the LGBT community in the past.

I am proud to support my LGBTQ friends and the LGBTQ Americans who have made immense contributions to our society and economy.

— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) June 2, 2017

As expected, backlash to Trump’s announcement was swift.

GLAAD, a prominent LGBTQ advocacy organization, condemned the ban on transgender soldiers as part of “the full-scale attack on LGBTQ Americans by the Trump Administration.” [/restrict]