House Dems urge Trump to reconsider military transgender ban

US President Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump

Secretary of Defense James Mattis shared details on Tuesday of how he plans to implement President Donald Trump's ban on transgender service members serving in the us military.

Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisPentagon hasn't finalized Afghanistan troop numbers Transgender service members walk carpet at VMAs Battle begins over implementing Trump's transgender ban MORE on Wednesday sought to downplay President Trump's earlier assertion that seemed to rule out a diplomatic solution to North Korea's ongoing missile tests.

"Once the panel reports its recommendations and following my consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, I will provide my advice to the president concerning implementation of his policy direction", Mattis said in a Tuesday night statement.

The US official added that for now, the current policy in respect to transgenders serving in the military remains in effect.

"In my judgment, the previous Administration failed to identify a sufficient basis to conclude that terminating the Departments' longstanding policy and practice would not hinder military effectiveness and lethality, disrupt unit cohesion, or tax military resources, and there remain meaningful concerns that further study is needed to ensure that continued implementation of last year's policy change would not have those negative effects", Trump's memo reads.

The announcement follows an order from President Trump - first announced in a tweet - declaring that transgender service members can no longer serve in the military, effectively reversing an Obama administration policy.

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Tammy Duckworth, a military veteran who lost both her legs during combat, also criticized Trump's ban on transgender troops. "The reasons given for the restrictions never came to fruition, were based on fear and prejudice, and the military was ultimately stronger based on a swell of new applicants and diversity in its ranks".

Three lawsuits have been filed challenging Trump's ban.

However, his Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said that there was still room for diplomacy in dealing with North Koreas ballistic missile launches.

"Military service is a privilege, not a right", said Rep. Vicky Hartzler, a Missouri Republican who lobbied the White House to stop paying for transgender-related medical expenses before Trump announced the ban.

Last year, the non-partisan research company, Rand Corporation, studied transgender troops in the military and found that there were thousands of transgender individuals serving.

But he left on Mattis to decide whether those already in the armed forces would be allowed to continue to serve. The Slate report also quoted Chase Strangio, an ACLU attorney, saying that Mattis' "statements do not change the directive nor has he been given the power to retain transgender service members indefinitely".

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