“Any patriot that wants to serve and meets all the requirements should…”
Last month, President Trump shocked everyone, including his top military advisers, when he tweeted a significant policy change that would ban all transgender people from military service. Any actual orders did not accompany the President’s twitter directive to the military. It was met with fierce opposition from both the left and the right.
The Policy and the Navy
The Secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer, is the most recent military leader to make known his opposition to the President’s tweeted transgender ban for the military. Spencer said, “We will process and take direction on a policy that will be developed by the secretary (with) direction from the president — and march out smartly.” He continued, “As I said before, on a fundamental basis, any patriot that wants to serve and meets all the requirements should be able to serve in our military.”
His response, while showing disagreement with the President’s directive, did also show his willingness to follow an order given by the Commander in Chief.
During his confirmation hearings, Spencer explained that any changes made should be military-wide and not branch specific so that all service people’s needs are met. In those interviews he said:
“We have to work together, including all our service people, to make sure that they are given what they need, whether that be spiritually, whether that be psychologically, whether that’s materialistically, to fight forward, so readiness is the key and lethality is the product.”
The Directive and Other Military Response
Secretary Spencer is not the first or only military leader who has opposed the President’s twitter directive. The President said that he was implementing the ban as a “great favor” to the military. The President’s own military leaders, however, do not seem to support the policy.
Admiral Paul Zukunft, Commandant of the Coast Guard, has made clear that he will not “turn his back” and will not “break faith” with those transgender individuals who are currently serving. General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, has said that no changes will be made until Defense Secretary James Mattis issues guidance in implementation with direction from the President.
General Dunford said, “In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect.”