A full-page ad printed in USA Today features 10 public officials from both sides of the aisle calling on the White House to drop its attempted ban on trans military service.
The advertisement features lawmakers like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) denouncing the failed policy, which President Trump claimed he would rework after it was blocked by a series of federal court rulings.
McCain, who sponsored a bill opposing the president’s ban last year, claimed the armed forces “should welcome all those who are willing and able to serve our country.” Collins, another supporter of that legislation, claimed the United States “should be expressing our gratitude” to transgender troops, rather than “trying to kick them out of the military.”
The ad also quotes a statement from Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) released after Trump initially announced the proposal last July. The president claimed trans people would not be permitted to “serve in any capacity,” fallaciously citing “tremendous costs and disruption.”
.@HRC @LambdaLegal @OutserveSLDN @LGBTMilPartners & @GenderJusticeWA took out a full-page ad in @USAToday highlighting the opposition of military leaders, national security officials & bipartisan lawmakers to Trump-Pence’s ban on brave transgender troops. https://t.co/bTTaj1esDJ pic.twitter.com/EH0uLI8IyF
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) February 26, 2018
“I don’t think we should be discriminating against anyone,” Hatch said in response. “Transgender people are people, and deserve the best we can do for them.”
Monday’s circular also includes quotes from top military personnel.
Former Army Secretary Eric Fanning, the first openly gay man to hold the post, claimed the president’s policy creates the very “uncertainty and instability” it purported to address. Former Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James claimed there is “no evidence” to support a ban on trans service members.
Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey took aim at the White House’s assertion trans military service would be burdensome for the Pentagonwhich wasdebunked by a 2016 studycommissioned by, well, the Pentagon.
“The service of men and women who volunteer and who meet the standards of service is a blessing not a burden,” Dempsey said.
The advertisement was released by LGBTQ advocacy groups like the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, OutServe-SLDN, Gender Justice League, and the American Military Partner Association after Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattisdelivered a set of recommendations to the presidenton the future of trans military service.
INTOreported last week that Mattiswho was on vacation when the ban was initially announcedfavored allowing transgender troops to serve openly, even despite Trump’s objections.
LGBTQ advocates urged the White House to follow that alleged advice.
“Military leaders, national security officials, and bipartisan lawmakers agree with the majority of Americans who believe the Trump-Pence Administration’s ban on transgender troops is not only wrong, but hurts military readiness,” said HRC President Chad Griffin in a statement.
“Donald Trump’s erratic tweets and half-baked orders disrespect the bravery of countless transgender people who have fought and sacrificed for our country,” Griffin continued. “It’s long past time the White House abandon this reckless, unconstitutional ban and give these brave individuals the dignity, respect, and honor they deserve.”
Photo via MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images