2020 Dems condemn Trump administration's transgender military policy

Several Democrats running for the party's 2020 nomination on Friday criticized President TrumpDonald John TrumpHR McMaster says president's policy to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is 'unwise' Cast of 'Parks and Rec' reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response 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 HarrisScott Walker helping to prep Pence for debate against Harris: report California family frustrated that governor, Harris used fire-damaged property for 'photo opportunity' Moderna releases coronavirus vaccine trial plan as enrollment pushes toward 30,000 MORE (Calif.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDHS opens probe into allegations at Georgia ICE facility Democratic lawmakers call for an investigation into allegations of medical neglect at Georgia ICE facility Black Voters Matter Fund deploying voter outreach caravans in 12 states to drive turnout MORE (N.J.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Schumer introduce plan for next president to cancel ,000 in student debt The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Don't expect a government check anytime soon No new taxes for the ultra rich — fix bad tax policy instead MORE (Mass.), as well as South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegBogeymen of the far left deserve a place in any Biden administration Overnight Defense: Woodward book causes new firestorm | Book says Trump lashed out at generals, told Woodward about secret weapons system | US withdrawing thousands of troops from Iraq A socially and environmentally just way to fight climate change 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 GillibrandSuburban moms are going to decide the 2020 election Jon Stewart urges Congress to help veterans exposed to burn pits The Hill's Campaign Report: 19 years since 9/11 | Dem rival to Marjorie Taylor Greene drops out | Collin Peterson faces fight of his career | Court delivers blow to ex-felon voting rights in Florida MORE (N.Y.), former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanLincoln Project hits Trump for criticizing Goodyear, 'an American company' Biden defends Goodyear after Trump urges boycott On The Money: Fed officials saw recovery slowing, virus threat growing | Trump urges boycott of Goodyear tires, prompts backlash | Analysis blames monopoly power for income inequality MORE (Ohio)