2020 Dems condemn Trump administration's transgender military policy

Several Democrats running for the party's 2020 nomination on Friday criticized President TrumpDonald John TrumpCensus Bureau spends millions on ad campaign to mitigate fears on excluded citizenship question Bloomberg campaign: Primary is two-way race with Sanders Democratic senator meets with Iranian foreign minister 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 HarrisHow the media fall in and out of love with candidates Conway: Trump is 'toying with everybody' by attacking Bloomberg for stop-and-frisk comments The Hill's Campaign Report: New challenges for 2020 Dems in Nevada, South Carolina MORE (Calif.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBloomberg set to debate in Nevada after qualifying in new poll Speculation swirls around whether Bloomberg will make Las Vegas debate stage Conway: Trump is 'toying with everybody' by attacking Bloomberg for stop-and-frisk comments MORE (N.J.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren: Bloomberg making debate will show how other candidates handle 'an egomaniac billionaire' Klobuchar campaign gets first super PAC HuffPost reporter: Sanders could win plurality of delegates but lose nomination MORE (Mass.), as well as South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegHuffPost reporter: Sanders could win plurality of delegates but lose nomination Sanders campaign expands operations in Michigan Sanders leads among Latino voters: poll 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 GillibrandHillicon Valley: US hits Huawei with new charges | Judge orders Pentagon to halt 'war cloud' work amid Amazon challenge | IRS removes guidance on Fortnite game currency Gillibrand proposes creating new digital privacy agency Lobbying world MORE (N.Y.), former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanDemocrats tear into Trump's speech: It was a 'MAGA rally' Democrats walk out of Trump's address: 'It's like watching professional wrestling' Trump set to confront his impeachment foes MORE (Ohio)