Pentagon & Congress

One week after Trump tweets, still no transgender guidance

WASHINGTON – It’s been a week since President Donald Trump signaled by tweet he intends to stop transgender personnel from serving in the military. But so far, the Pentagon hasn’t seen any actual policy from the president.

“We haven’t gotten any guidance,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, the No. 2 official inside the Pentagon, told reporters Wednesday.

In the days since, individual service heads have tried to reassure currently serving transgender personnel that they will be respected and will continue to be allowed to serve as long as current policy stands. The current policy allowing transgender personnel to serve openly was put in place in October 2016. 

In a speech Tuesday, Coast Guard Commandant Paul Zukunft said that he would “not break faith” with the transgender servicemembers under his command despite the president’s tweets.

“We have made an investment in you and you have made an investment in the Coast Guard,” Zukunft said. Other service heads have made similar statements, that the military will continue to operate under current policy until new directives are issued.

Asked at a briefing Tuesday whether the Pentagon considered the president’s tweets to be policy, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said the building would need official directive to make any changes.

“What you saw in the form of a tweet was representative of an announcement,” Davis said. “We will await formal direction.”

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