Michael Wolff’s bombshell exposé on Donald Trump’s first year in the White House contains damning allegations about the president’s attempted ban on transgender military service.
In Fire and Fury, Wolff claims the Commander-in-Chief tweeted that trans people would be prohibited from joining the armed forces just minutes after a briefing on the subject. Trump had not been advised to do so. The book, which hit bookstores today, alleges that advisors presented the president “with four different options related to the military’s transgender policy.”
Wolff does not specify what those options were, but he alleges the meeting was “meant to frame an ongoing discussion.”
Instead of awaiting further consultation from the Pentagon or the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Trump is said to have taken immediate, unilateral actionmoving to roll back a year-old policy which had allowed transgender troops to serve openly for the first time.
“[T]en minutes after receiving the discussion points Trump tweeted his transgender ban,” Wolff writes.
In a July 26 tweetstorm, the president announced that trans people would no longer be permitted “to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military.” He added that allowing transgender troops to join the armed forces would result in “tremendous medical costs and disruption” for the Pentagon, despite the fact that a study commissioned by the Pentagon a year earlier found that trans inclusion would have almost no impact on the military.
The policy was put forward that morning for “no evident reason,” Wolff writes. Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis was on vacation at the time Trump’s proposed ban was posted to social media, as has been previously reported.
The president’s transgender ban, which was made official in an August 25 directive, would be blocked after four separate federal courts ruled against it. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of Washington D.C. wrote in an October verdict that the order “does not appear to be supported by any facts,” the first of several court orders paving the way for open trans military service.
“There is absolutely no support for the claim that the ongoing service of transgender people would have any negative effect on the military at all,” she said. “In fact, there is considerable evidence that it is the discharge and banning of such individuals that would have such effects.”
After an emergency motion to delay transgender inclusion failed, trans troops were allowed to enlist on Jan. 1. The administration has said it will stop appealing the rulings.
Before it was even released, Trump had already called Wolff’s book “fake news.”