Former Navy secretary: Trump's transgender ban 'dumbest government policy'

Former Navy secretary: Trump's transgender ban 'dumbest government policy'
© Getty Images

Former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus bashed President TrumpDonald TrumpCaitlyn Jenner on Hannity touts Trump: 'He was a disruptor' Ivanka Trump doubles down on vaccine push with post celebrating second shot Conservative Club for Growth PAC comes out against Stefanik to replace Cheney MORE's move to prevent transgender individuals from serving in the military, as the president’s effort hits the one-year mark.

“That strikes me as the dumbest government policy you could possibly pursue and it weakens us and hurts our military,” Mabus said Thursday evening at the Veterans in Global Leadership event in Washington, D.C. 

Trump in July 2017 abruptly announced on Twitter that he would ban transgender individuals from serving “in any capacity” in the U.S. military.


The Obama administration had ordered the military to begin allowing transgender troops to serve openly in the U.S. armed forces, with a year of review beforehand — during which Trump made his announcement.

Mabus, who served as head of the Navy under former President Obama from 2009 to 2017, said in the year the Pentagon looked at the effect, cost and impact on the military in allowing transgender service, the conclusion was that “overall it would be a positive thing.”

“To have that reversed in a tweet with no evidence, no thought, nothing, it’s breaking faith with the people who are willing to serve,” he said.

The administration’s transgender ban has been blocked from taking effect while it is debated in multiple courts.

Transgender people may continue to enlist in the military until the opposing parties go to trial, expected in April 2019.

Mabus, who was known for his progressive stance while Navy secretary, pushed for the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy applying to sexuality in the military and opened all jobs to women.

“I have this notion, that if you can do a job, the only qualification to get that job ought to be the ability to do the job. Color or race or ethnicity or gender or who you love, or what your sexual identity is ought to be irrelevant. Who cares?” he said. 

The former governor of Mississippi recounted being approached by a Navy medic who was on his third deployment.

“He said, ‘I’ve been scared to death, the whole 11 years that I was going to be found out for being gay and kicked out.’ ”

“Three combat deployments, risking his life everyday with the Marines and yet his biggest worry was he was going to found out as being gay and kicked out,” Mabus said. “How bad is that? And how much weaker does that make our military?”

Mabus also didn’t mince words when speaking his opinion on Trump’s tendency to tweet major policy changes or military threats, seemingly without the input from top national security officials.

“It worries me that we have a president who makes decisions by whim and by tweet about how we’re going to use our military,” he said.

“I think the military has the right to expect that before we commit ... that somebody’s thought about it, it’s been really carefully planned, that we’re not just doing it because it’s what we think makes us feel good at the moment. That worries me," he said.