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AP

Salesforce and the CEO of Google are among the first tech leaders to publicly speak out after President Trump's announcement Wednesday to ban transgender troops from serving in the military.

Why it matters: Republicans have targeted transgender civil rights in a number of areas, with the Texas legislature currently debating a "bathroom bill" that would prevent people from using a restroom that doesn't match their official government documents. Tech companies have emerged as a leading voice in support of LGBT rights at the local, state and federal levels.

  • "I am grateful to the transgender members of the military for their service.," Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a tweet, adding the hashtag "LetThemServe."
  • Salesforce issued a statement condemning the move: "Salesforce believes in equality for all," the company said. "We support and thank all U.S. service members, including transgender Americans.
  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted "Everyone should be able to serve their country -- no matter who they are."
  • Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said in a tweet that "Discrimination in any form is wrong for all of us #LetThemServe."
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook: "We are indebted to all who serve. Discrimination against anyone holds everyone back. #LetThemServe"
  • Microsoft President Brad Smith: "We honor and respect all who serve, including the transgender members of our military. #LetThemServe"
  • Intel CEO Brian Krzanich tweeted late Wednesday afternoon "Discrimination is wrong. Diversity makes ALL organizations better. #LetThemServe"
  • Venture capitalists, including Sam Altman and Cyan Banister also spoke out, with Altman noting the "estimated cost of trans service members is less than a couple of Trump's trips to Mar-a-Lago."
  • Veteran entrepreneur Max Levchin urged support for transgender people across party lines. "Trans kids, soldiers etc need our support today and to know they are valued & respected regardless of politics. Let us not be divided."
  • Uber: "We owe the deepest debt of gratitude to all those who volunteer to serve in the US Armed Forces and defend our values," the company said in a statement to Axios. "These patriotic Americans deserve to be honored and respected, not turned away because of who they are."
  • The companies join a number of elected officials who have spoken in opposition to Trump's move, which runs counter to studies that transgender troops don't hurt combat readiness or add costs.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
33 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Fauci's offensive against "craziness"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

After becoming a top punching bag for the right, Dr. Anthony Fauci is defending himself with a sharp new edge, arguing that an attack on him is an attack on science.

What he's saying: In comments to Kara Swisher on her New York Times "Sway" podcast, shared first with Axios, Fauci says: "It is essential as a scientist that you evolve your opinion and your recommendations based on the data as it evolves. ... And that's the reason why I say people who then criticize me about that are actually criticizing science."

Afghanistan's president coming to Washington on Friday

Ashraf Ghani, left, president of Afghanistan, and Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

As the U.S. troop withdrawal accelerates, President Biden will welcome Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, at the White House on Friday.

Our thought bubble: Axios politics editor Glen Johnson, who traveled to Afghanistan while working for Secretary of State John Kerry, said inviting both Ghani and Abdullah to Washington shows the administration’s respect for the delicate balance of power in the country.

Educators face fines, harassment over critical race theory

People talk before the start of a rally against critical race theory being taught in schools at the Loudoun County Government center in Leesburg, Va. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Elementary school teachers, administrators and college professors are facing fines, physical threats, and fear of firing because of an organized push from the right to remove classroom discussions of systemic racism.

Why it matters: Moves to ban critical race theory are raising free speech concerns amid an absence of consistent parameters about what teachings are in or out of bounds.

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