On Wednesday, President Donald 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. Thank you”
Who knew that transgender servicemembers were having such a crippling financial impact on the United States military.
After all, the President’s proposed DoD budget for next year is only $639 billion.
I guess there’s some kind of evidence to prove that transgender servicemembers are incurring significant costs that are crippling America’s defenses.
And yet, the Washington Post reports that “a Defense Department-commissioned study published last year by the Rand Corp. provides exhaustive estimates of transgender servicemembers’ potential medical costs. Considering the prevalence of transgender servicemembers among the active duty military and the typical health-care costs for gender-transition-related medical treatment, the Rand study estimated that these treatments would cost the military between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually.”
Let’s put this in perspective, according to data from the Defense Health Agency, “DoD actually spent $41.6 million on Viagra — and $84.24 million total on erectile dysfunction prescriptions — last year. And since 2011, the tab for drugs like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra totals $294 million — the equivalent of nearly four U.S. Air Force F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.”
Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stood in the White House Press Briefing room on Wednesday and declared that allowing transgender people to serve in the military is a “very expensive and disruptive policy.”
All-the-while, taxpayers are footing the bill for Donald Trump (and his family’s) vacations.
In April, CNN reported that “Donald Trump’s travel to his private club in Florida has cost over an estimated $20 million in his first 80 days as president, putting the president on pace in his first year of office to surpass former President Barack Obama’s spending on travel for his entire eight years.”
A Government Accountability (GAO) report found that one trip to Mar-a-Lago costs taxpayers approximately $3.6 million.
The Military Times reported that Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson sent a letter to Congress revealing that “The Air Force total cost for movement of the president between Jan. 20, when Trump was inaugurated, and May 18 was $15.8 million, or just under $4 million per 30 days…”
The notion that Trump’s discriminatory actions against transgender servicemembers was about cost savings doesn’t meet the most basic standards of scrutiny.
It is a lie designed to justify the advancement of a narrow-minded, ill-informed, hateful ideological agenda masquerading as “Make America Great Again.”
We like to look to our military as a symbol of America’s greatness. A demonstration of the very best of our country and its people. A beacon of hope for all to look to as an example of freedom and tolerance.
But with a few tweets, President Donald Trump has instead used our military as a tool to advance segregation and discrimination against its own people.
To channel the worst-instincts of humanity to create divisiveness and promote ugliness.
The Commander-in-Chief, who avoided serving in Vietnam because his foot hurt, has the audacity to suggest the 15,000 transgender service members who are currently serving in the United States military are somehow not welcome or worthy?
Donald Trump cannot be trusted to do the right thing and so it falls on Congress to use the legislative pulpit to overturn this discriminatory decision. To exemplify just a tiny fraction of the courage that these 15,000 transgender servicemembers demonstrate every single day.
These extraordinary people who wake up every single day with one objective: to keep us safe. They are willing to do all the things that most of us either can’t or don’t want to do. They volunteered to serve our country. They signed-up to defend all of us against our enemies. They deserve so much more than this and so it is incumbent upon the rest of us to do for them what their President is incapable of doing.
They have our backs. We need to have theirs.