2020 Dems condemn Trump administration's transgender military policy

Several Democrats running for the party's 2020 nomination on Friday criticized President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE's new policy prohibiting transgender troops from serving in the military unless they serve under their biological sex. 

The controversial measure, which ends the previous policy under former President Obama allowing transgender people to serve openly, went into effect on Friday.

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Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris slams DOJ decision not to charge police in Eric Garner's death Harris vows to 'put people over profit' in prescription drug plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet MORE (Calif.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerHarris slams DOJ decision not to charge police in Eric Garner's death The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet Fundraising numbers highlight growing divide in 2020 race MORE (N.J.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' Trump says administration will 'take a look' after Thiel raises concerns about Google, China Thiel calls Warren the most 'dangerous' Democratic candidate MORE (Mass.), as well as South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet Fundraising numbers highlight growing divide in 2020 race South Bend police officer resigns after killing of black man MORE, were among those who spoke out against the measure on Twitter, with many of them calling it a ban. 

The Pentagon denies the policy, a revamped version of a stricter one unveiled earlier, is a ban.

The department argues currently serving transgender service members or anyone who has already signed an enlistment contract can continue to serve openly, and point to the carveouts for transgender people willing to serve under their biological sex.

But the policy has been opposed by most Democrats.

"To the transgender Americans who serve in our Armed Forces: You deserve better," Harris wrote on Friday. "We stand with you in opposing Trump’s reprehensible, vile, and discriminatory ban."

"The #TransMilitaryBan must be defeated. To the thousands of transgender patriots serving in our military, we are so grateful for your service and will fight this ban with you," Booker wrote. "Make no mistake: an attack on the transgender community is an attack on us all." 

Buttigieg, who is a veteran, encouraged his followers to "ask how we could stand for courageous service members to have their careers destroyed by a president who pretended to be disabled in order to avoid serving when it was his turn," referring to Trump's five draft deferments during the Vietnam war due to bone spurs. 

"Let me be very clear: If someone can handle the job, they should be allowed to serve—regardless of how they identify or who they love,"  Warren tweeted. "We’ll stand with service members and fight this cruelty with everything we’ve got."

Other Democratic presidential candidates who denounced the policy change include Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet Fundraising numbers highlight growing divide in 2020 race Five things to watch for at Defense nominee's confirmation hearing MORE (N.Y.), former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) John Ryan2020 Democrats call Trump's tweets about female Democrats racist 3 reasons billionaire activist Tom Steyer is running for president ProPublica to fund reporter to cover Youngstown, Ohio, after newspaper folds MORE (Ohio)