McCain: Transgender Individuals ‘Should Be Allowed’ To Serve In Military

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz delivers his speech titled “America’s Enduring Commitment to Security and Prosperity in Asia” at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) Distinguished Public Lecture on Friday, June 3, 2016 in Singapore. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
Wong Maye-E/AP

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, on Wednesday said transgender individuals “should be allowed to continue serving” in the military and “treated as the patriots they are” in response to President Donald Trump’s announced ban.

“The President’s tweet this morning regarding transgender Americans in the military is yet another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter,” McCain said in a statement.

Trump on Wednesday tweeted that the U.S. government will not “accept or allow” transgender individuals to serve in the military “in any capacity.”

McCain called Trump’s statement “unclear” and said many transgender individuals in the military “are serving honorably today.”

“Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving,” he said. “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.”

McCain said the Defense Department is “currently conducting a study” on the “medical obligations” and “impact on military readiness” of allowing more transgender individuals to serve.

“I do not believe that any new policy decision is appropriate until that study is complete and thoroughly reviewed by the Secretary of Defense, our military leadership, and the Congress,” he said. “We should all be guided by the principle that any American who wants to serve our country and is able to meet the standards should have the opportunity to do so—and should be treated as the patriots they are.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK