Twitter reacts to Trump’s decision to ban transgender Americans from the military

“This is discriminatory, and un-American.”

Trump holds up a rainbow “LGBTs for Trump” flag at a 2016 rally in Colorado. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci
Trump holds up a rainbow “LGBTs for Trump” flag at a 2016 rally in Colorado. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that transgender Americans will no longer be allowed to serve in the U.S. military “in any capacity.”

The announcement, which notably took place while the U.S. Secretary of Defense was on vacation, led to an outpouring of support for transgender service members from advocacy groups and politicians alike.

The only Republican lawmakers who have vowed to stand with the transgender community so far are Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), a member of the LGBT Caucus, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

The Log Cabin GOP — a group of LGBTQ Republicans who ironically just last night repeated White House Communication Director Anthony Scaramucci’s claim that Trump is the first U.S. president to enter office “with a pro-gay rights stance” — condemned the decision. “Excommunicating transgender soldiers only weakens our readiness; it doesn’t strengthen it,” read a statement from the group.

Not everyone spoke out against the decision. Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), who drafted an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill that would prohibit the military from paying for transgender-related health needs, praised the president for sharing her “cost concerns” and planning to change a “costly and damaging policy.” (A 2016 study suggested that paying for trans service members and veterans’ health needs would cost between $2.4 million and $8.4 million per year, barely more than a hundredth of a percent of the $49.3 billion per year the military spends on health care.)

The U.S. Naval Institute responded by quietly posting their current documents on transgender policies, which open with a letter from former Secretary of Defense Peter Levine calling acceptance of trans soldiers “the right thing to do for the people and the force.”

Transgender former soldier Chelsea Manning called the decision “cowardice.”

Several Democratic lawmakers have condemned the decision, including but not limited to, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), Representative Dina Titus (D-NV), Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ), and Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA).

Lieutenant Governor of Washington Cyrus Habib (D-WA) called the tweet “disgraceful” and honored transgender soldiers and veterans. The state is home to several important military installations.

Joshua Block, an attorney at the nonprofit American Civil Liberties Union, urged transgender servicemembers and reservists to contact him.

GLAAD, an advocacy organization for LGBTQ rights, called Trump’s tweet a “direct attack on transgender Americans.”

Ivanka Trump, Trump’s daughter and one of his advisers, was notably silent on Wednesday morning, despite having previously tweeted that she is “proud to support her LGBTQ friends” and the greater LGBTQ community.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

Correction: Trump posted the tweets in question on Wednesday. A previous version of this article said they were posted on Tuesday.