Democrats in Washington, D.C. were outraged on Wednesday after President Trump used Twitter to announce that he would reinstate a ban on transgender people serving in the military.
After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
....Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
....victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
Speaking to reporters outside the Capitol, Democrats and LGBT activists called Trump's move cowardly and hypocritical.
"It was a cowardly act, the way he did it and especially what he did," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). "On this day, to unleash a vile, hateful agenda that will blindside thousands of patriotic Americans already serving with honor and bravery."
Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) said Trump "dared to question the patriotism of our military."
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) said Trump should not be using Twitter to run the military.
The Marine Corps veteran added that the president's military history, or lack thereof, made his directive especially offensive.
"The thought that a draft dodger, someone who dodged his commitment to serve his country, who also then bragged about it and said his Vietnam was avoiding STDs in the 70s and 80s then to turn around and tell these young men and women that have said they are willing to sacrifice that they are no longer accepted - it is disgusting," Gallego said.
Trump got a student deferment from the military draft until he graduated college in 1968. He then received a medical deferment which classified him as only being available for draft in a national emergency, according to Politifact.
Many Democrats said Trump's tweet was a political move meant to distract from the ongoing Russia scandal and the GOP's debacle over health care.
"This clearly was not a military move but a political one," said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX).
Others said Trump shouldn't use the military as a political pawn.
"These brave men and women deserve more than to be a prop for the commander in chief," said Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI).
But many Republicans agreed with Trump's logic that the medical costs and "disruption" of allowing transgender individuals to serve would deter military readiness.
“When we’re spending time talking about chromosomes, we’re not spending time focused on fighting and winning wars,” said Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH), an Army veteran.
"Right now, we have people who cannot serve in the military with asthma, or with flat feet," said Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MS) during an interview with CNN.
"So why would we allow individuals to come in, although they’re very patriotic and we appreciate their desire to serve, but who who have these medical issues that could be very costly?"
Hartlzer sponsored an amendment to the House defense spending bill that would cut funding for transgender service members' medical treatments.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), another Army veteran, pointed out via Twitter that those medical costs were small.
Experts say the costs you mention are at most just .13% of the military budget *for healthcare specifically* — not 13% or 1.3%, but .13%— Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) July 26, 2017
But not all Republicans agreed with Trump. Many said that those who are willing to lay down their lives should be allowed to serve as long as they are able.
"My attitude is, they’re human beings, they have every right to, and I don’t see any problem with that," Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) told reporters.
"Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving," Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement.
"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."