July 26, 2017
Our troops have waited eight years for a leader who puts America's mission first. Today, they got one. In what may end up being the single most important military decision of his presidency, Donald Trump announced that the days of politically-correct warfighting are over. After a tumultuous 13 months, the new commander-in-chief completely upended his predecessor's transgender policy, rescuing our troops from the grip of the Obama years and restoring a sense of true pride to a military devastated by two terms of social engineering.
In a series of tweets that exploded across social media, the president was clear: "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. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you."
It was exactly the kind of fearless decision-making Americans elected him for. "I want a very, very strong military," Trump has said. And he proved it -- in one of the gutsiest moves of his young administration. While others (including 23 House Republicans) wilted under the Left's pressure, this commander-in-chief strode right into the fire and did what he knew was right. That's leadership. Now, thanks to President Trump, the military can finally focus its efforts on fighting something other than the culture wars.
For conservatives, who were reenergized by the outpouring of support from the American people, it was an encouraging moment. Spurred on by FRC and movement leaders, an army of House members, led by Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) and the House Freedom Caucus, were ready to do whatever it took to stop the boost in Pentagon funding until this issue was addressed. Now they -- like us -- stand cheering the White House's bold leadership.
"President Trump's decision today to rescind Obama's transgender military policy has the best interests of the military in mind, and I thank him for taking this decisive action," Vicky applauded. "Our military is the most effective, efficient, and well-funded fighting force in the world, and as the president notes, we cannot burden our armed forces with the tremendous costs and disruptions that transgender in the military would entail. With the challenges we are facing across the globe, we are asking the American people to invest their hard-earned money in national defense. Each dollar needs to be spent to address threats facing our nation. The costs incurred by funding transgender surgeries and the required additional care it demands should not be the focus of our military resources."
Missisippi's Steve Palazzo (R) chimed in, "@realDonaldTrump showed strong leadership today and made the right decision for our military. Security of our nation must come first." Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) was next. "Given the readiness crisis our military faces, I agree with @POTUS that every resource provided to DOD should go to national security needs." Obviously, the American people agree. Although polling already showed that only 23 percent of the country agreed with the transgender policy, they backed up that consensus this morning, lighting up Trump's Twitter feed with more than 12,000 likes within 10 minutes of his announcement.
Unfortunately, not everyone sees the error of Obama's ways. Liberals came unglued at the news, threatening lawsuits and protests. In the end, though, the opinion that matters is the military's -- and top officials had been blunt about their concerns from the beginning. From the service chiefs to Pentagon leaders, no one could explain how this policy made our military more capable of performing its mission. On the contrary, it only seemed to cripple readiness, retention, and recruitment -- while also opening up the troops to even higher rates of suicide and sexual assault.
"Talk to any service member today," Lt. General Jerry Boykin explained, "and you will find that a majority of them will express great frustration with the amount of time that they spend in these [LGBT] trainings at the expense of preparing for war." Defense Secretary James Mattis agreed, saying as recently as this week that "service members [are] spending too much time on senseless training that is really a waste of time." Then, of course, there was the enormous waste of taxpayer dollars -- as much as $3.7 billion in transgender "treatments" and lost deployment time. In a Defense Department outraged by $28 million in Afghan uniforms, imagine the backlash for a policy that would have cost 132 times more!
When Obama left office with a 15-percent military approval rating, most people probably wondered why this policy was open for discussion at all. After years of running our troops into the ground, it's no wonder the American people finally stood up and said enough. Now, seven months into his administration, President Trump is rewarding voters by checking another box on his list of promises. "We are going to get away from political correctness," he vowed. And there's no better time than now. Our deepest thanks to the commander-in-chief for putting the military's focus back where it belongs.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.