Trump: Transgender people "disqualified" from the military
President Trump late Friday issued an order disqualifying most transgender people from serving in the military.
Why it matters: Anything short of an inclusive policy for transgender troops will be viewed as a continuation of the ban Trump announced on Twitter in August.
What’s happened: Since Trump’s announcement in August of last year, the ban has been blocked in four federal courts over the likelihood that it was unconstitutional. Transgender troops have been able to enlist in the military since January 1 this year in spite of the announcement.
- Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis had reportedly supported not implementing the ban and recommended existing transgender troops be allowed to serve.
Shannon Minter, the legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, told Axios that “it is the same categorical ban that Trump announced in August” and that they will continue to challenge it.
- The National Center for Transgender Equality issued a statement: "This plan has no basis in science, medicine, facts, or military readiness—only weak, after-the-fact justifications for President Trump’s irresponsible tweets. It aims to force out trained, capable service members and prevent the military from obtaining the most qualified personnel."
Full White House statement:
Today, the President rescinded his previous memorandum on transgender service in the military in order to allow Secretary Mattis to implement a new policy developed through extensive study by senior uniformed and civilian leaders, including combat veterans. The experts’ study sets forth a policy to enhance our military’s readiness, lethality, and effectiveness. On the advice of these experts, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security have concluded that the accession or retention of individuals with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria—those who may require substantial medical treatment, including through medical drugs or surgery—presents considerable risk to military effectiveness and lethality. This new policy will enable the military to apply well-established mental and physical health standards—including those regarding the use of medical drugs—equally to all individuals who want to join and fight for the best military force the world has ever seen. The Secretary of Defense’s memorandum and accompanying report have been made public today.
Both Bush and Obama also requested line item veto power
President Trump tweeted on Friday evening that to avoid having "this omnibus situation from ever happening again," he wants Congress to re-instate "a line-item veto."
Why it matters: This would allow him to veto specific parts of a bill without getting rid of the entire thing. Trump was deeply unhappy with the $1.3 trillion spending bill approved by Congress early Friday morning, but signed it anyway on Friday afternoon.
What is a line item veto:
- President Bush sent a request to Congress to use a line item veto in 2006.
- President Obama proposed it in 2010, but said he would have "a limited time after a bill is passed to submit a package of rescissions that must be considered by Congress in straight up or down votes," Politico reported.
- The Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional in 1998, two years after the Line Item Veto Act of 1996 was introduced.
- The original text said it gave the President "line item veto authority with respect to appropriations, new direct spending, and limited tax benefits."
- Judge Thomas F. Hogan of the Federal District Court, who made the decision, said per the New York Times: "The Line Item Veto Act violates the procedural requirements ordained in Article I of the United States Constitution and impermissibly upsets the balance of powers so carefully prescribed by its framers."
- The NYT reported in 1998 that the decision came as "a major blow to President Clinton and Republican leaders of Congress," after Clinton used the line item veto to "kill Medicaid benefits for New York."
- Clinton "used the power to strike 82 items from 11 laws," per the Times.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday afternoon that his call to revive the veto "are likely to go unanswered."