President Donald Trump announced his
transgender military ban before hearing from top officials, according
to a new book by journalist Bob Woodward.
Woodward's explosive new book, titled
Fear: Trump in the White House, describes the Trump
administration in chaos.
According to excerpts from the upcoming
book published by the Washington
Examiner, Woodward claims that Trump tweeted about the ban
before a planned meeting to discuss options.
“After consultation with my Generals
and military experts, please be advised that the United States
Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve
in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump wrote in a series of
tweets in July 2017. “Our military must be focused on decisive and
overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous
medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would
entail. Thank you.”
According to the book, the National
Security Council had prepared four options for Trump on the issue,
which ranged from doing nothing to an outright ban on transgender
people serving in the military. The council reportedly had no clear
consensus on the issue.
On the day of the tweets, then White
House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus presented the options to Trump
during a conference call. Priebus warned that an all-out ban would
“I'll be down at 10,” Trump said.
“Why don't you guys come and see me then? We'll figure it out.”
About an hour before the planned
meeting, Trump tweeted his decision.
“What'd you think of my tweet?”
Trump later asked Priebus.
“I think it would've been better if
we had a decision memo, looped [Defense Secretary Jim] Mattis in,”
According to Woodward, Mattis, who was
on vacation, was surprised by Trump's tweets. Mattis reportedly
opposed the ban and said that he would try to reverse the decision.
Mattis eventually backed the president's decision.
“These guys are coming over to get
full surgery. We're supposed to pay for that?” former adviser
Steve Bannon is quoted as telling an aide to Mattis. “You've got
to take one for the team.”
Trump is also quoted as privately
describing gender reassignment surgery as “getting clipped.”
Four federal courts and two appellate
courts have blocked the Pentagon from implementing such a ban.