President Trump’s tweets turned to action on Friday when he announced he signed a memo officially banning transgender people from the armed forces.
According to a White House official, transgender individuals can no longer serve in the military unless an alternative decision is made by the secretary of homeland security and the secretary of defense.
It remains unclear what will happen with current transgender recruits, but the decision has been left to Defense Secretary James Mattis.
The president drew intense scrutiny in June when he abruptly mentioned the ban in a tweet, surprising lawmakers and reversing course on Obama-era policies.
The same day he implemented the ban, Trump’s weekly address praised the military and called for national unity, emphasizing a seemingly contradictory message to his actions. “Every person who puts on the uniform makes our nation proud,” he said. “They all come from across our land. They represent every race, ethnicity, and creed. But they all pledge the same oath, fight for the same cause, and operate as one team – with one shared sense of purpose.”
The newly implemented ban also halts Defense and Homeland Security spending on sex change operations for current members of the military with the exception of those who have already started their treatment. However, this measure will not go into effect until March 23, 2018 so that implementation policy may be developed first. Implementation plans for the ban itself must be given to Trump by the same date.