The draft-dodger-in-chief has some deep thoughts about how to run the U.S. military:
There’s no evidence that the presence of openly trans service members negatively impacts military readiness. “In no case did the RAND team find evidence of an effect on operational effectiveness, operational readiness or cohesion,” said a 2016 RAND study on the matter.
But Trump doesn’t care about evidence. This is an attempt at distraction by appealing to his favorite pets: the religious right. He pulled a similar move in March, when he weakened employment protections for LGBT people who work for federally funded contractors. The religious right’s leadership is almost certainly aware that Trump does not care about any of the things they care about; though it’s hardly impossible that the president’s base cruelty and prejudice applies to trans people as it does to immigrants, he’s never spent much air time on the issue of trans rights. Today’s announcement isn’t the culmination of an ideological agenda, then, but a desperate grasp at good P.R. Not only will this please Christians—this is how the reasoning almost certainly goes—but it will please the military, and oh my, Trump loves his generals.
But pleasing the religious right nearly always comes at the expense of marginalized people, and so it is with today’s announcement. There are already trans people in our military, and they serve with distinction. Bans on their service not only threaten their careers but their safety. Announcement’s like Trump’s will encourage the bigots in military ranks to out their trans people—and trans people are already disproportionately more likely to be attacked and murdered because of their identities.
None of this matters to Trump, of course. He’s already moved on:
And so it goes.