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John McCain Defects From Trump & GOP; Releases Unprecedented Military Announcement

Remember the tweets that took the world by surprise earlier this year in which the president announced a plan to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. Armed Forces? On Friday, the president made those tweets official, signing an official directive telling the Pentagon to halt the implementation of an Obama-era order allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military.

Adding insult to injury, the president’s directive ordered the military to no longer pay for hormone therapies for transgender persons currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

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Now, longtime Arizona GOP Senator John McCain has joined the chorus of voices speaking out against the move.

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In a statement published on his website shortly after news about Trump’s official directive came out, the Senate Armed Forces Committee Chairman and brain cancer survivor said:

‘It would be a step in the wrong direction to force currently serving transgender individuals to leave the military solely on the basis of their gender identity rather than medical and readiness standards that should always be at the heart of Department of Defense personnel policy.’
The directive that the president signed on Friday tells the Defense Department to look into what the fate of currently serving transgender military personnel’s careers should be. In the meantime, it calls on the Armed Forces to stop accepting transgender individuals for service.

As McCain indicates, although the president has claimed to the contrary, there is no evidence that disallowing transgender people from serving in the Armed Forces would actually save the government any meaningful amount of money.

The costs associated with gender identity specific medical services for transgender people in the military are a tiny fraction of the costs associated with treatment for erectile dysfunction. The president’s claim that transgender people disrupt the flow of the Armed Forces is that ridiculous.

McCain added in his statement that the Defense Department’s “ongoing study on this issue should be completed before any decisions are made with regard to accession,” and that his committee would “continue to conduct oversight on this important issue.”

The Senator has come out strongly against the president on numerous issues in the past, including, for example, that of his foreign policy. McCain also cast what has been widely seen as the deciding vote that led to the failure of GOP efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, something that Trump paraded into office promising to get done.

The president’s move to ban transgender people from the military has, unsurprisingly, been met with wide criticism.

The American Civil Liberties Union has pledged to sue the president for his ban, posting a message to Twitter on Friday telling the president, “We’ll see you in court.”

That phrase has become somewhat of a trademark rallying cry in the ACLU’s fight against the Trump Administration’s oppressive policies, a fight which has proven successful. For example, earlier this year, the ACLU helped lead the first successful legal challenges against the Trump Administration’s controversial Muslim-targeting travel ban. It remains to be seen how successful the ACLU’s lawsuit against the president’s transgender military ban is.

Featured Image via Mark Wilson/ Getty Images

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