President Donald Trump took to Twitter this week to a declare that transgender men and women would henceforth be banned from military service.
He made the announcement without warning or apparent support from leaders at the Pentagon.
Indeed, top Department of Defense officials quickly reassured the public that there will be “no modifications” to the military's transgender policy as a result of the tweet, and the military will continue to “treat all of our personnel with respect.” Good.
Trump has made a habit of tweeting inflammatory and untrue statements; this one wasn’t surprising.
What is remarkable, though, is that in the aftermath of the tweets several Republican lawmakers joined Democrats in criticizing the president’s action.
“This tweet was a complete surprise to the Department of Defense and to the Congress,” Rep. Mac Thornberry told The Dallas Morning News. The Clarendon Republican chairs the House Armed Services committee, so he would know.
And he didn’t stop there.
“The standard should be to uphold the high standards of the military as warfighters — that’s what matters,” he said.
That sentiment was amplified by his counterpart in the Senate, John McCain, also a Navy vet.
“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,” said the Arizona Republican.
Rep. Will Hurd, who represents Texas’ 23rd district, didn’t hold back either.
“I served alongside many heroic individuals in the United States Armed Services during my time in the CIA and believe anybody who meets all military requirements should have the opportunity to put on a uniform and serve our great country,” Hurd said.
There were, of course, a handful of Texas lawmakers who supported Trump’s announcement, although many wrongly assumed that Trump’s decision was based on the advice of military leaders.
There is no indication that is true. The Pentagon is still studying the impact of transgender troops on medical costs and military readiness. The many Republican lawmakers who declined to comment probably did so for this reason.
Or maybe they have learned better than to react to another Trump tweet.
We’d still like to know what they think.