LOS ANGELES — “Disgusting,” “ugly,” “un-American” and “hateful” were among the reactions state and Southland Democratic political leaders had to President Donald Trump’s announcement that transgender people will be barred from 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 transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military,” Trump wrote on his Twitter account.
He added, “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.”
The decision reverses a move made by President Barack Obama last year when he announced that transgender people could serve openly in the military.
“No one who is patriotic, courageous and selfless enough to serve in the armed forces should be denied that opportunity because of who they are,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “The president’s decision to bar transgender Americans from military service is at odds with the values of freedom and equality that our men and women in uniform fight for every day.”
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Los Angeles, who spent four years on active duty with the U.S. Air Force and continues to serve in the reserves, said Trump’s action “is not based on facts, it is based on naked bigotry.”
“I know because I served on active duty,” Lieu said. “The military doesn’t care what your sexual orientation or identity is, or who you love. It cares about whether you can shoot straight and complete the mission. The president’s discriminatory decision harms our military readiness for our volunteer-based military. Thousands of transgender Americans are already in the military.”
Rep. Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, called the action “disgusting.”
“It’s startling he would make our country less safe by recklessly preventing a group of patriots from continuing to serve their country,” she said. “I proudly stand behind our transgender community as they are cowardly assaulted by the president from his social media account.”
A host of celebrities also weighed in on the announcement via Twitter, not surprisingly in opposition. Included among them was one of the nation’s most well-known transgender people — Caitlyn Jenner.
“There are 15,000 patriotic transgender Americans in the U.S. military fighting for all of us. What happened to your promise to fight for them?” Jenner wrote.
Jenner re-tweeted one of Trump’s posts from June 2016, in the midst of the presidential campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton. That post from Trump read, “Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.”
California’s two U.S. senators, both Democrats, also blasted the announcement, with Sen. Kamala Harris calling it “discriminatory, wrong and un-American.”
“We should not punish or turn away courageous people who are willing to risk their lives to serve our country — we should embrace them,” Harris said. “The president’s claim that the service of transgender people impacts military readiness is not backed up by facts, nor is it publicly supported by our military leadership.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein added, “All Americans who are fit and willing to serve our country in the military should be given the opportunity to do so. President Obama recognized this and rightly decided that transgender individuals shold be allowed to serve.”
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, who has become one of Trump’s most vocal critics in Washington, accused the president of breaking his promise to support the LGBT community.
“In February, President Trump made an unequivocal promise to the LGBT community to maintain existing federal non-discrimination protections,” Schiff said. “With his announcement this morning, Trump has reneged on his promise to the American people by disallowing transgender people to serve ‘in any capacity’ in the U.S. military. Simply put, Trump’s anti-transgender pronouncement is ugly and wrong because discrimination is never patriotic; allowing all who love this country to serve, is.”
Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, one of the council’s two openly gay members, said, “While the president continues his push to marginalize historically oppressed communities, here in Los Angeles we are moving forward with our agenda to uplift and create opportunities for the transgender community, including housing, shelter, and social services. Unlike Donald Trump, we Angelenos embrace diversity, and we don’t believe anyone should live in the shadows because of who they are. Leaders lead with love and compassion, not hate and ignorance.”
The city of West Hollywood also released a statement blasting the president’s action.
“The city of West Hollywood is outraged by Donald Trump’s tweets stating that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military — this is in direct contradiction to his 2016 campaign promise to fight for the LGBT community,” the statement said.
“By continuing to focus his 140-character attention span on yet another ignorant attack on the basic humanity of an entire group of people, Donald Trump disgracefully lowers the bar on respectful civil discourse and distracts the nation’s attention from vitally important issues such as healthcare and national security.
“The city of West Hollywood will not remain silent. We have a deep commitment to the transgender community and to partnering with numerous organizations that provide services to people in the transgender community,” the statement added.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Trump’s announcement as a “military decision.”
“The president has expressed concerns since this Obama policy came into effect,” she said. “But he’s also voiced that this is a very expensive and disruptive policy, and based on consultation that he’s had with his national security team, came to the conclusion that it erodes military readiness and unit cohesion [and] made the decision based on that.”
Randy Thomasson, president of Sacramento-based SaveCalifornia.com — Campaign for Children and Families, hailed Trump’s announcement, saying it will spare taxpayers from picking up the tab for “sex-change procedures and operations costing the people nearly $2 billion over 10 years.”
“Mixing biological women into men’s barracks or biological men into women’s barracks weakens troop morale, trust and effectiveness,” Thomasson said. “The obvious solution to improve our military is to get rid of years of politically correct social experimentation. Where Obama did wrong, Trump’s done right.
“President Trump’s decision reflects the healthy and incontrovertible scientific fact that you’re male if you’ve inherited a Y chromosome from your father, and you’re female if you haven’t.”
Trump did not address the issue while speaking to members of the American Legion Boys Nation and Auxiliary Girls Nation at the White House. When a reporter shouted a question about the issue after the president’s speech, Trump stood stone-faced and did not answer, but called the reporter “rude.”