WASHINGTON, D.C. — This morning, President Donald Trump made waves on Twitter yet again. In a series of three tweets, Trump reversed an Obama-era policy allowing openly transgender people to serve in the military.
The reaction from many corners of the political landscape was mixed, but mostly negative. Republican Senator John McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, lambasted the decision of Trump’s to make the announcement via Twitter, and said that there is “no reason to force current service members currently able to train, fight & deploy to leave military despite gender identity.” Trump, per his usual, has not responded directly to critics of his decision.
Later in the day, however, Trump made further military personnel policy changes that might cause an even bigger uproar. On the 69th anniversary of President Harry Truman signing an executive order banning discrimination based on race within the armed forces, Trump announced he would be rescinding that executive order. The president cited the “disruption” and “medical costs” of caring for the country’s enlisted men and women all as one group, and argued it would be better to “make the military great and segregated again.”
“You know, folks,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House for his third lunch, “Harry Truman was a Democrat. You know that right? And as we all know, Democrats make bad deals. One bad deal was Executive Order 9981. Truman couldn’t have known then how expensive it is to have a non-white combat force integrated with the white power — excuse me — powerful and white combat force.”
Trump argued that his decision to rescind Truman’s order doesn’t mean he’s racist, or is pandering to racists within his base.
“Yes, sure, white nationalists like Richard Spencer and David Duke endorsed me,” Trump said, “and yes, the Nazi Party did too, as did the KKK. But that doesn’t mean anything. I mean, the fundamental evangelicals backed me, and it’s not like I’m pandering to them, except on this one teeny-tiny thing with the transgenders.”
The president said that since he’s not kicking people of color out of the military, that’s also proof that he’s not making a racist decision.
“All I’m saying is that they’ll have a separate but equal barracks,” Trump said, “and not in any way
Reaction to Trump’s re-segregation was met with similar disagreement and confusion from both sides of the aisle as his transgender service ban did.
“It makes no sense to me,” Sen. John McCain said, “and I intend to wag my finger extra hard at President Trump right before making a long-winded, pious speech about it, before I ultimately go along with it.”
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan echoed McCain’s condemnation followed by support.
“That’s terrible. Just terrible. It sickens me to the core. That’s not American values,” Ryan said, “and if he wasn’t a Republican, I would absolutely do something about this. But he is, so you know, YOLO.”
The White House did not respond to requests for comment.
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