BOSTON (State House News Service) – President Donald Trump’s declaration that transgender people would be barred from the military where they have been officially welcomed to serve openly for about a year was “yet another shameful, weak, callous, uncaring act by our president,” Attorney General Maura Healey told reporters Thursday.
In a series of three tweets Wednesday, Trump wrote, “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. 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. Thank you.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday that the “Department of Defense and the White House will have to work together as implementation takes place and is done so lawfully,” according to a transcript.
Healey, a Democrat and the state’s first openly gay attorney general, was a proponent of the 2016 state law expanding anti-discrimination and access rights to transgender people. She said she would need to see how the new military policy is rolled out before determining whether she will take action.
“I think we have to wait to see what’s actually done. This was a tweet. Business isn’t done, policies aren’t implemented via tweet. Let’s see what actually happens,” Healey said.
In June 2016, former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that transgender people would be allowed to openly serve in the U.S. armed forces.
“We can’t allow barriers unrelated to a person’s qualifications to prevent us from recruiting and retaining those who can best accomplish the mission,” Carter said at the time.
Healey speculated that the president’s transgender announcement was an attempt to distract the public from other events, and noted that it was sent out on the anniversary of President Harry Truman’s July 26, 1948 executive order desegregating the military.
“I think what he did is shameful. The anniversary of the day when Harry Truman issued an executive order integrating the military we have Donald Trump issuing an order that is misguided and that is cruel. And I think about the many men and women who are currently serving – transgender men and women – people who are serving in our military honorably, serving our country, putting their lives on the line, to wake up and read the news via tweet that they don’t have the support of their commander in chief,” Healey said.