While visiting Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia on Thursday, Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer said that despite President Trump’s intended transgender military ban, “any patriot” should be allowed to serve.
“We will process and take direction on a policy that will be developed by the secretary (with) direction from the President — and march out smartly,” Spencer told reporters, according to The Daily Press. “As I said before, on a fundamental basis, any patriot that wants to serve and meets all the requirements should be able to serve in our military.”
Spencer was confirmed a week after Trump’s tweets on his plans to ban transgender people from serving in the military, a move that would reverse an Obama-era policy allowing transgender individuals to serve openly.
Spencer’s comments came as Trump said he is “doing the military a great favor” with the intended ban. Earlier this week, five active-duty service members filed a lawsuit against Trump claiming his directive violates the Equal Protection component of the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth Amendment.
A Quinnipiac poll released last week found a majority of American voters believe transgender individuals should be allowed to serve in the U.S. military.