Dems ask for proof Trump consulted Pentagon on transgender ban

Dems ask for proof Trump consulted Pentagon on transgender ban
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More than 100 Democrats are demanding proof that President Trump consulted with the Pentagon before deciding that he would ban transgender people from the military.

In a letter to Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisAfter Texas shooting, lawmakers question whether military has systemic reporting problem In Africa, defense without diplomacy and development is a losing strategy McCain pledges 'rigorous oversight' after Air Force failure to report Texas gunman's conviction MORE on Tuesday, 115 Democrats request any communication between the Pentagon and the White House that led Trump to claim that he was “doing the military a great favor” by announcing on Twitter that transgender people would not be allowed “to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military.”

“If senior military or Department of Defense personnel asked that the president ban transgender individuals from military service, we request access to any letters, e-mails, telephone transcripts, meeting logs and minutes, or other materials that document such requests,” the Democrats wrote in the letter. “If the department has records of any other discussions that might have justified the president’s claim, we request to see those materials, as well.”

Trump in July announced the transgender ban in tweets in which he also claimed that he arrived at the decision after consultation with “my generals and military experts."

"It’s been a very complicated issue for the military, it’s been a very confusing issue for the military, and I think I’m doing the military a great favor,” Trump added in an August news conference.

Trump made good on his tweets later in August, signing a memo that prohibits the military from enlisting transgender people and from using funds to pay for gender transition-related surgery. It also gives Mattis six months to determine what to do with transgender troops who are currently serving.

But it remains unclear which generals and military experts Trump consulted before announcing the ban.

Last month, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford confirmed he has advised against separating people from the military based on their gender identity.

The Democrats wrote in their letter that they are asking for the materials to determine whether there is active policy coordination between the Pentagon and the White House, or whether there was a breakdown in communication.

“As you know, clear communication between the White House and the Pentagon is essential to our nation’s security,” they wrote.

The letter was organized by Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-Va.).

“We seek information to discover the proof of where and when the Pentagon advised the president that this was the best idea for our country,” McEachin said in a statement Tuesday. “If there is proof then we can evaluate that; if there is no proof, then the president lied to the American people once again.”