Piers Morgan asks Trump how he can support LGBTQ rights and ban trans people from military

British commentator and former “Celebrity Apprentice” winner Piers Morgan pressed President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Bombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' Lawmakers dismiss Chinese retaliatory threat to US tech MORE in an interview about the president's public support of the LGBTQ community while issuing a ban on transgender people serving in the military.

Morgan, in an interview that aired Wednesday on “Good Morning Britain,” asked Trump why he felt the “need to ban transgender people” from the military.

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“This week, you tweeted your support for the LGBT community around the world where they’re being persecuted or excluded,” Morgan said. “Which does prompt the obvious question: If you feel that protective of the LGBT community, why did you feel the need to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. military?”

Trump said it was because transgender people “take massive amounts of drugs.”

“They have to ... and you’re not allowed to take drugs,” Trump said. “You’re not allowed to take any drugs. You take an aspirin. And they have to after the operation. They have to. They have no choice. They have to.”

Morgan pointed out to the commander in chief that the cost of medication for transgender troops is “minuscule” compared to the U.S. military’s budget.

“The U.S. military spends a lot more money on, for example, giving Viagra to servicemen than it does actually on medical bills for transgender people,” the host added.

Trump said he didn’t know that statistic.

“So it just seems to me an unnecessary thing for a guy who wants to be supportive of the LGBT rights and the community around the world, that you’ve taken this action,” Morgan told the president.

Trump responded, “It is what it is.”

The president then claimed that many service members were joining the military, requesting operations and then taking time off for recovery.

“You have to have a standard and you have to stick by that standard,” Trump said in the interview. “We have a great military and I want to keep it that way. And maybe they would be phenomenal, I think they probably would be.”

“But, again, you have very strict rules and regulations on drugs and prescription drugs and all of these different things. And they blow it out of the water,” the president added.

 

Transgender troops have been serving openly since the Obama administration lifted a previous ban in 2016.

But in July 2017, Trump tweeted he would “not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military.”

Trump’s controversial policy was met by a series of lawsuits from LGBTQ advocacy groups, but it took effect in April.

Under the new policy, outlined in a March memo, transgender service members currently serving or anyone who has already signed an enlistment contract can continue to serve openly and receive medical care.

But transgender individuals who join the military going forward will have to serve in the gender they were assigned at birth. Anyone diagnosed with gender dysphoria will not be allowed to enlist unless a doctor certifies they have been stable in their biological sex for 36 months.

Troops who receive a gender dysphoria diagnosis while currently serving in the military will fall under the new rules.