Time and time again the only campaign promises Donald Trump is keeping are those made to Christofascists leaders in June, 2016, at a meeting at Trump Tower. For background, on June 21, 2016, Donald Trump met with a who's who of far right Christian groups - a number of which are certified hate groups - in New York City. The purpose? To win the support of these Christian extremists who could then rally their followers to vote for the Trump/Pence ticket through their insidious, under the radar networks. Among the rallying points promised to these extremists were the appointment of anti-abortion and anti-gay justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, repealing the six decade old Johnson Amendment so that churches could engage in political campaigns, anti-transgender bathroom bills, and license to discriminate laws disguised as efforts to protect the "religious freedom" of Christian extremists. Trump delivered on the first promise when he placed Neil Gorsuch on the Court, his Justice Department and Department of Education are aggressively rolling back LGBT protections, and now Trump has targeted transgender members of the U.S. military. As a piece in the Los Angeles Blade written by fellow LGBT blogger, Karen Ocamb, reports, Trump's anti-transgender tweets are becoming official policy. The issue will be whether or not the military leadership complies with Trump's openly discriminatory directives. Here are article excerpts:
President Donald Trump may be on a 17- day vacation but his White House has been scrambling to hand him a “win” by the time he returns. Trump’s tweets last week announcing a ban on transgender individuals serving openly in the U.S. military was turned into a “guidance” policy for implementation that passed muster with the White House Counsel’s office Friday night. Approved by Trump, the new policy is expected to be now delivered into the hands of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who has been quiet on the issue with approximately 15,000 trans servicemembers under his command.After his review, Mattis is expected to order a deliberate implementation by the Pentagon, which could take a period of time.
Though the policy—called “A Guidance Policy for Open Transgender Service Phase Out”—has not yet been made public, sources familiar with the planning said it would encourage early retirement, usher out any enlisted personnel after their contract is up, and would fire trans officers up for promotion. Basically, said a source, “the administration want to get rid of transgender servicemembers as fast as they can.”
No one yet knows what will happen to the servicemembers currently fighting in combat. The new policy does allow trans servicemembers to continue serving but apparently does not offer any protection from harassment or other efforts to get them to quit.
Trump said in his tweets that the decision to ban trans military service was made after consultation with his generals and to safeguard the readiness of the armed forces. That flies in the face of a Rand study commissioned in 2016 by then-Sec. of Defense Ash Carter that said there were “few obstacles” to lifting the existing ban against trans service.
Trump focused his attention on the cost of medical care for trans servicemembers who want to transition on the job. But, the New York Times reported: “Paying for the procedures would cost the Pentagon between $2.9 million to $4.2 million a year, the report said. By comparison, the Pentagon each year spends $6 billion of its $610 billion budget on medical costs for active-duty service members.”
Last Tuesday, 56 retired generals and admirals came out against Trump’s proposed ban. “This proposed ban, if implemented, would cause significant disruptions, deprive the military of mission-critical talent, and compromise the integrity of transgender troops who would be forced to live a lie, as well as non-transgender peers who would be forced to choose between reporting their comrades or disobeying policy,” the retired officers said in a statement, The Hill reported.
Two sources says they have confirmation from their sources at the White House and Pentagon that the “phase out” policy is on its way to the Secretary of Defense.
Matthew F. Thorn, Executive Director of OutServe-SLDN, released the following statement:
“The President’s order to remove transgender service members from the United States armed forces is nothing less than a purge. He is implementing this purge based on bigotry, motivated by agents of an ideology that has no concern for the national defense, and in blatant disregard of the experience of career officers who spent more than a year developing and implementing the current policy. . . . OutServe-SLDN with our partner Lambda Legal will be immediately filing a lawsuit in federal court to challenge this action.”
As Trump's approval numbers continue to fall it seems clear that he will do anything to appease the Christofascists - along with white supremacists - who put him in office. My August VEER Magazine piece (which is on the streets around the 15th of the month) covers the intensifying attacks on LGBT Americans.