Armed Services Committee Republican breaks with Trump on transgender troops

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) on Sunday broke with President Trump over his new ban on transgender Americans serving in the military.

In an interview on “Face the Nation,” Ernst told CBS News’s Margaret Brennan that she supports allowing transgender people to serve in the military as long as they fit the physical and mental standards required.

“I have asked transgenders myself, if you are willing to lay down your life beside mine, I would welcome you into our military,” she said.

{mosads}“We do want to make sure that they meet physical requirements,” Ernst said. “We can’t waive that. That is true across any demographic within our military, making sure that they are physically fit and they meet the mental standard.”

Trump issued a memo late Friday effectively banning most transgender people from serving in the military, “except under limited circumstances.”

The president originally called for the ban in a series of tweets last summer, following up in August with a memo. The ban faced numerous challenges in court, and awaited Defense Secretary James Mattis’s final recommendation.

Ernst, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, voiced opposition to the original ban, along with multiple other Republican senators.

She said Sunday she would be open to having discussions with the Trump administration about the ban, but declined to say if she would ask the White House to change its position.

Tags Donald Trump James Mattis Joni Ernst

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