Friday, July 28, 2017

Christofascists Lobbied Trump for Transgender Ban

While many are news outlets are reporting that Donald Trump, a/k/a Der  Trumpenführer, tweeted ban against transgender Americans serving in the military "came out of the blue," the reality is that the supposed ban was part of Trump's effort to (i) deliver on promises made to evangelical Christian and hate group leaders in June, 2016, and (ii) change the topic from the Russiagate investigations that seem to be turning out more and more potentially damaging information on Trump and his sycophants.   CNN is now reporting that Trump's action was anything but "out of the blue" and that conservative members of Congress have been lobbying long and hard for the transgender ban (and I suspect, the Justice Department filing arguing that the Civil Rights Act of 1064 affords no protections to LGBT Americans).  My main complaint with the CNN piece is that it refers to those who lobbied for Trump's action as "conservatives."  These people members of Congress and their masters are not conservatives.  The correct labels for them include theocrats, Christofascists, Christian Taliban, hate merchants, and religious extremists, among others.   Locally, Congressman Rob Wittman seems to be clicking his heels and saluting Trump on this issue.  I have sought to secure an official comment from Wittman's office but have been rebuffed so far.  Here are highlights from CNN's coverage:
Republicans on Capitol Hill are scrambling to respond to President Donald Trump's announcement Wednesday to reinstitute a ban on transgender people serving in the military after conservatives who lobbied the White House say they were pushing only to prevent the Pentagon from paying for medical costs associated with gender confirmation -- not an outright ban.
Trump's decision, announced Wednesday on Twitter and sparking bipartisan outrage on Capitol Hill, comes after the White House was lobbied by conservatives on the issue, including Rep. Vicky Hartzler, who proposed an amendment on the defense authorization bill to ban the Pentagon from paying what Hartzler called "transition surgeries," as well as hormone therapy. The Missouri Republican lobbied the White House in recent weeks to do something on the issue, a GOP congressional aide familiar with the situation told CNN. House Republican leaders knew the White House was already looking to change policy related to transgender people, but only as it relates to how or whether taxpayer money is being used for medical treatments, two Republican leadership sources told CNN. Trump's announcement on a total ban of transgender people serving in the US military was "far beyond leaders' expectations and caught many by surprise," one of those sources told CNN.
 Hartzler tried to engage with Defense Secretary James Mattis on service members' gender-related medical costs before the House took up the defense authorization bill, the aide said. When her amendment to that bill failed, she went to the White House to "address the issue" before the security spending bill was brought to the floor, a GOP congressional aide familiar with the situation told CNN.
News of conservatives lobbying Trump on transgender issues was first reported by Politico. . . . The House defeated Hartzler's amendment 209-214 on the defense authorization bill earlier this month, with 24 Republicans joining with Democrats to defeat the measure.
Some conservatives, such as Rep. Mark Meadows and others in the Freedom Caucus, had been threatening to try to kill the spending package if the transgender health provision was not included, but Republican leadership was confident they had the votes to get the bill over the finish line, according to congressional aides. House conservatives were trying to avoid a roll-call vote, too, pushing leadership to add the amendment banning medical expenses for trans service members as a "self-executing" provision to the House Rule for the security bill, which would have avoided a specific vote, according to a senior GOP aide. But leadership rejected that idea.
 House armed services committee Chairman Mac Thornberry told CNN Trump's decision appeared to catch the Pentagon by surprise, too, in addition to Congress.
"It was a complete surprise, not only to us but to the Pentagon apparently," Thornberry said.

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