September 11, 2017
Defense Secretary James Mattis has until February to implement the president's transgender order. But at least two senators are trying to stop him before he starts. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), with help from Susan Collins (R-Maine), are hatching a plan to overrule the commander-in-chief's policy barring the gender-confused from serving in the military.
To the relief of his service chiefs, who'd lobbied against Barack Obama's policy since last July, Trump tweeted, "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."
Despite those costs -- up to $3.7 billion in treatments and lost deployment time -- a handful of radical senators insist on "protecting the transgender troops" at the expense of national security. Based on our conversations on the Hill, Gillibrand and Collins will almost certainly introduce an amendment to strike the Trump policy on the National Defense Authorization Act, which the Senate was expected to take up today. With hundreds of amendments already on the table, it's anyone's guess whether the senators' language would make the final cut. If it does, the pair would need to find 60 votes in favor.
That may be a tall order in a nation where only 23 percent of America believes as the Left does, that the military should be a petri dish for social experimentation. Most of them seem to understand what so many in the media do not: that the president is simply reinforcing the GOP values he pledged to uphold at the Republican National Convention last July. If people are surprised by Trump's agenda, then they weren't paying attention.
As improbable as the Gillibrand-Collins effort may seem, conservatives can't afford to sleepwalk through this debate. It's time to put America on notice that Senate liberals are intent on stopping President Trump from ending Obama's era of social experimentation -- just as they did with the Obamacare repeal. Contact your senators and encourage them to keep the military focused on what matters: fighting and winning wars.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.