March 29, 2019
Is it Capitol Hill or a transgender pride parade? In some hallways, it's tough to tell. The same Democrats who think our military should take a backseat to gender-free validation are proving it by lining the walls of House office buildings with "trans equality" flags. And in case our troops didn't know where they ranked with Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) party, some even took down POW displays to make room.
It's a jarring sight on the 5th floor of the Longworth House Office Building. A sea of baby blue and pink flags greets everyone who walks by -- an unpleasant reminder of just where the new majority's priorities are. Not that anyone really needed reminding. Late yesterday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) party made it quite clear what they thought about our service members by condemning a policy that saves our military from deadly distractions. But in the Left's hierarchy of political priorities, keeping the troops safe has always fallen way below keeping them "tolerant."
When the last administration unilaterally forced transgenderism on the military on their way out the door, they knew the policy was a risk. So, Ash Carter and the rest of the Pentagon had a plan. They'd wait until 2016 to leave the country with this ticking time bomb, meant to explode on the next president's watch. What they didn't account for, in all of their radical scheming, was a leader who would do something about it. But after one look at the $3.7 billion dollar price tag, the social science, the cost to readiness, and the Army slides on "male pregnancy" and "off-duty drag," Donald Trump had seen enough. He pulled the plug.
For two years, liberals have blasted the president for putting national security first. They've called him a coward. They took him to court. They argued he didn't have the power to change the policy -- even though Barack Obama miraculously did. And Thursday, to cap it off, they took a formal vote of condemnation. In another sign of just how fanatical the Left has become, every single Democrat went against the service chiefs' advice, the Pentagon's research, and the men and women in uniform to make a party statement: We put transgender extremism first.
In an important show of solidarity, all but five Republicans stood by the president. Some, like top Armed Services Republican, Rep. Mac Thornberry (Texas), lashed out at Democrats for trying to politicize national security issues. Not only did they completely mischaracterize the bill, he argued, but they ignored all of the intense research and debate that went into the change. "Well before any presidential tweet," he pointed out, "Secretary of Defense Mattis had put a delay on implementation of the policy that had previously been announced so that there could be a six-month review. I recommend that members actually read it... They'll see the serious and thoughtful approach that the department took to this issue."
He's right. After digging into the science, Mattis and his team were more convinced than ever that letting this type of gender chaos into the military presents a "considerable risk" to its "effectiveness and lethality." Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), who's been a warrior on this issue in her own right, stood by that assessment, insisting that the Pentagon's leaders surely know better than Congress. "Our all-voluntary military is the greatest military force in the world, and we must allow it to make the best medical and military judgment" about who serves. After all, she pointed out, military service "is a privilege, not a right." And every day, our recruiters turn down people for things that are a lot less destabilizing than gender dysphoria.
Of the five Republicans who bucked the president -- Trey Hollingsworth (Ind.), Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Will Hurd (Texas), John Katko (N.Y.), and Tom Reed (N.Y.) -- at least two might have regrets. In statements, both Hollingsworth and Katko scrambled to explain their votes by claiming they'd have sided with the GOP if the Pentagon made exceptions for "physical, psychological, and medically" fit people. Well, either they never bothered to read the president's policy or they're flat-out misrepresenting it. This has never been a ban on qualified men and women. If a recruit passes the tests and hasn't been formally diagnosed with gender dysphoria, they're free to join -- so long as they serve as their biological sex.
Thank goodness for true House conservatives, who are willing to stand up to a party that's willing to put POW flags in the closet so transgenders can come out of theirs. Political correctness doesn't win wars -- and it's time we put an end to policies that pretend it does.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.