On Wednesday morning, President Trump shocked many with a series of tweets wherein he stated that transgender folks would no longer be allowed to serve in the military. With some prominent trans military veterans speaking out against the President’s unilateral decision, the Defense Department has finally responded to the tweets.
According to Reuters, Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, clarified the department’s position on trans service people in a message to “service chiefs, commanders, and senior enlisted leaders” on Thursday. “There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance,” he wrote.
Per Reuters, Dunford went on to say that all branches of the military will continue to respect every single service person, a sentiment that was later echoed by US Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley. “The entire chain of command will, always has, will today, and will tomorrow, and always should treat every single soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, Coast Guard with dignity and respect for their service in the cloth of our nation, bar none.”
Milley also clarified in a press conference that “the military is the military who works off of certain processes and sets of orders, etc. So, to date, walking in here, I have yet to receive implementation guidance, implementation directives from the Department of Defense [or] General Mattis. We grow up and learn to respect the chain of command; the Secretary of the Army, the Secretary of Defense, and the President.” He continued, “To my knowledge, Secretary Mattis hasn’t received written directives as of yet.”
With no concrete plans as to how the military will bar the already-active trans service people, or if and when this proposed change will take effect, we’ll have to wait to see exactly how this latest missive from the president plays out in real time.
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(h/t Refinery29; photo via Drew Angerer/Getty)