Pentagon, White House discussing transgender ban

Pentagon, White House discussing transgender ban
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The White House has reached out to the Pentagon to begin drafting official guidance to ban transgender people from serving in the military, a Department of Defense (DOD) spokesman confirmed.

“We have conversations back and forth all the time with the White House in a variety of channels and those conversations are starting to happen on the issue,” Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters at the Pentagon.

President Trump last week declared on Twitter that the military would have a new policy forbidding transgender people from serving in the military.

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The military would “not accept or allow” transgender people to serve “in any capacity,” according to the Trump tweet. The president said in the tweet that he had made the decision after consultation with “my Generals and military experts.”

Davis could not provide the names of who Trump was referring to, telling reporters, “You’d have to talk to the White House about that.”

The unexpected announcement reportedly caught Defense Secretary James Mattis, along with the rest of the Pentagon, off guard.

And a day after Trump’s tweets, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford asserted the current transgender policy will remain unchanged until the White House sends an official directive to the Pentagon.

Davis said that DOD officials are waiting for that directive “to be formerly articulated to us in a policy memo.”

“We will await formal direction and … once we get that we would provide implementing guidance and implement accordingly. But that’s not happened yet,” Davis said.

When pressed on whether top Pentagon officials believe an official directive will be coming, Davis said that “we have no reason not to believe we are” getting it.