ORLANDO, Fla. – Local LGBTQ leaders and political experts are weighing in after President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday morning announcing that transgender people will be banned in the nation’s military.
Three tweets from Trump are causing major concerns for The Center Orlando, which serves the LGBTQ community in Central Florida.
“Think for yourself, if you woke up this morning and found out that your president just said we don’t want you or you don’t count,” Terry DeCarlo with The Center said.
DeCarlo is also an Air Force veteran. He said he is disheartened by Trump’s announcement.
“To just disregard them because they’re being who they are is just wrong,” he said.
Trump’s tweets reverse the Pentagon’s policy that was implemented last year. It allowed transgender people to serve in the military.
But Trump tweeted he consulted with his generals and military experts and decided the government “will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military.”
He went on to say, “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.”
He ended his tweets with, “Thank you.”
“I’d like to know how. I would like that one word, disruptive, elaborate on it. Tell me what you think is going to be disruptive ’cause I don’t see how it could be,” DeCarlo said.
DeCarlo adds the military is a brother and sisterhood that transgender people have proudly served.
“They still have the ability to fight and to do what they need to do, what they feel they need to do to secure our country,” he said.
According to CBS News, citing a Rand study, there are between 2,500 and 7,000 active duty transgender service members and up to 4,000 in the reserves.
“We’re talking about a small number of people. Perhaps one half of 1 percent of the 2 million American men and women in uniform,” News 6 political expert Jim Clark said.
Clark calls these tweets a victory for Trump, saying they are shifting the focus away from other major issues, like healthcare and Russia.
“One minute we’re talking about one thing. He sends out a tweet and suddenly we’re talking about something different,” Clark said. “I’ve never known a president who could change the national conversation so quickly.”
Clark added that he doesn’t think anything will happen right away.
“It’s going to take a while for this to work through the courts, for some sort of procedure,” Clark said.
News 6 contacted local lawmakers for reaction on Trump’s transgender ban.
Congresswoman Val Demings said in a statement, “Fighting against discrimination has been an ongoing battle since the birth of our nation. I will continue to fight this battle. However, President Trump’s fixation on those who are different from him is troubling. Instead of using twitter to announce major policy decisions, President Trump’s valuable time would be better spent working on a jobs or national security plan, holding Russia accountable or providing better health care as promised.”
Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy tweeted, “We have always honored sacrifice & patriotism. Banning transgender Americans from serving violates those values. To ALL who serve: thank you.”
Congressman Darren Soto said in a statement, “There are over 15,000 transgender military service men and women currently risking their lives every day protecting our country. Now, we must also protect them. I proudly stand with the transgender troops serving in the U.S military, you make us proud to be American! Rather than sensationalizing division in our U.S. military —the greatest fighting force on earth —we need to focus on getting our troops the resources they need, and taking care of our veterans when they return home from the battlefield.”
Sen. Bill Nelson wrote, “All those who meet the military’s qualifications should be able to serve.”
“When the governor was asked today in Jacksonville, he talked about his service in the Navy and reiterated his support of the military,” said Gov. Rick Scott’s spokesperson, Lauren Schenone. “The governor respects the ability of generals and military leaders to decide the force America needs. He wants America to have the best and most effective military in the world.”
Sen. Marco Rubio’s office has not responded to News 6’s request for comment.
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