Senators John McCain, Orrin Hatch,
Richard Shelby and Joni Ernst are among the Republican lawmakers
voicing their opposition to a ban on transgender troops.
The lawmakers spoke out after President
Donald Trump declared in a series of tweets Wednesday that the
military will no longer “accept or allow” transgender troops to
serve “in any capacity.”
says military will bar transgender troops.)
On Thursday, the Pentagon clarified
that the policy on transgender troops had yet to change.
No official change has been made on transgender service.)
McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed
Services Committee, criticized the president in a statement posted on
his Senate website.
“The Department of Defense has
already decided to allow currently-serving transgender individuals to
stay in the military, and many are serving honorably today,” the
Arizona senator wrote. “Any American who meets current medical and
readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving. There is
no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and
deploy to leave the military – regardless of their gender identity.
We should all be guided by the principle that any American who wants
to serve our country and is able to meet the standards should have
the opportunity to do so – and should be treated as the patriots
Utah Senator Orrin Hatch said in a
statement that “transgender people are people, and deserve the best
we can do for them.”
Appearing on CNN's Newsroom,
Shelby, a senator from Alabama, backed the current policy. “You
ought to treat everybody fairly and give everybody a chance to serve.
The current policy is a big tent for people who want to serve. You
have to remember our military force is a volunteer force.”
A spokeswoman for Ernst, a senator from
Iowa, told The
Des Moines Register that Ernst believes that “Americans who
are qualified and can meet the standards to serve in the military
should be afforded that opportunity” provided taxpayers don't
“cover the costs associated with a gender reassignment surgery.”