Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainBiden falters in pledge to strengthen US alliances 20 years after 9/11, US foreign policy still struggles for balance What the chaos in Afghanistan can remind us about the importance of protecting democracy at home MORE (R-Ariz.) on Wednesday criticized President Trump’s transgender statements on Twitter as “unclear.”
“The President’s tweet this morning regarding transgender Americans in the military is yet another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter,” McCain said in a statement.
Trump on Wednesday morning said on Twitter that he would ban transgender people from any military service, a move that would represent a major shift in military policy.
"After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military," Trump tweeted.
McCain said the statement was unclear, as the Department of Defense “has already decided to allow currently-serving transgender individuals to stay in the military, and many are serving honorably today. Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving.”
The Obama administration last year lifted the ban on allowing transgender troops to serve openly.
McCain noted that the Pentagon is currently conducting a study on “the medical obligations it would incur, the impact on military readiness, and related questions associated with the accession of transgender individuals” who wish to join the military.
“I do not believe that any new policy decision is appropriate until that study is complete and thoroughly reviewed by the Secretary of Defense, our military leadership, and the Congress,” he said.
In addition, McCain believes “there is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train and deploy to leave the military — regardless of their gender identity. We should all be guided by the principle that any American who wants to serve our country and is able to meet the standards should have the opportunity to do so — and should be treated as the patriots they are.”
He adds that the Senate Armed Services Committee “will continue to follow closely and conduct oversight on the issue of transgender individuals serving in the military.”