Sen. Ernst Joins GOP Chorus Criticizing Trump’s Transgender Military Ban

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July 26, 2017 12:54 p.m.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) joined a growing list of Republican senators on Wednesday criticizing President Donald Trump’s announced ban on transgender individuals’ military service.

Trump’s decision would reverse an Obama-era move to acknowledge and support openly transgender soldiers, one whose implementation was temporarily delayed by Defense Secretary James Mattis on June 30.

“As a veteran, Sen. Ernst served alongside fellow service members from all different backgrounds and parts of the county,” Ernst’s office said in a statement to TPM. “She believes what is most important is making sure servicemembers can meet the physical training standards, and the willingness to defend our freedoms and way of life.”

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“While she believes taxpayers shouldn’t cover the costs associated with a gender reassignment surgery, Americans who are qualified and can meet the standards to serve in the military should be afforded that opportunity,” the statement concluded.

Sens. Richard Shelby (R-AL), John McCain (R-AZ) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) have expressed similar criticisms of Trump’s Wednesday announcement.

The Des Moines Register’s Jason Noble told Iowa’s senior senator, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), about Ernst’s position, and reported that Grassley said he respected Ernst’s opinion.

A proposed amendment to prohibit the Pentagon from paying for servicemembers’ gender reassignment surgeries was recently defeated in the House of Representatives.

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