McEachin Leads 110+ Members Calling for Proof that Trump was Advised by the Pentagon Before Issuing Transgender Military Ban

October 10, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) led 114 Members of Congress in requesting correspondence from Secretary Mattis that informed the President’s decision to ban transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the military.

“We seek information to discover the proof of where and when the Pentagon advised the President that this was the best idea for our country,” said Congressman Donald McEachin.  “If there is proof then we can evaluate that, if there is no proof then the President lied to the American people once again.”

The Members of Congress request various forms of documented correspondence between the White House and the Pentagon in advance of the President’s announcement of the divisive military policy this August.

“We request information about what discussions or correspondence between the White House and the Pentagon, if any, led President Trump to make his assertion. If senior military or Department of Defense personnel asked that the president ban transgender individuals from military service, we request access to any letters, e-mails, telephone transcripts, meeting logs and minutes, or other materials that document such requests,” wrote the Members of Congress. “If the Department has records of any other discussions that might have justified the president’s claim, we request to see those materials, as well. We seek access to these materials in order to determine whether the president, his national security team, and military leaders are actively coordinating policy with one another, or whether the president’s transgender ban announcement reflected a breakdown in communication.”

Congressman McEachin led a letter to President Trump urging him to reverse his ill-advised transgender military ban with Representatives Kennedy and Jayapal in August. More than 140 members of the House of Representatives signed that letter.

“Decades ago senior military leadership and Members of Congress tried to say that a group of people, African-Americans, were not fit to serve and would run at the sight of a battle. I cannot believe that we are here today facing similar discrimination against transgender individuals,” said Rep. McEachin. “Transgender individuals are already bravely serving our country and do not need this discriminatory distraction.”

A 2016 study conducted by the RAND Corporation — a nonpartisan, nonprofit military think tank founded by the U.S. Air Force — suggested that allowing transgender individuals to serve openly would have “no significant impact on unit cohesion or operational readiness.”

Full letter text is available here and below.

Statements in support of this letter:

“President Trump's directive ordering the Pentagon to ban transgender people from the military is an affront to our nation's heroes,” said David Stacy, Human Rights Campaign Government Affairs Director. “A strong majority of Americans agree that qualified people who are willing to risk their lives for their fellow citizens should be allowed to do so, regardless of their gender identity. We are thankful for Congressman McEachin's leadership in working to bring to light the truth as the evidence mounts indicating our top military leaders reject the President’s discriminatory and harmful policy.”

“From the moment the President's thumbs tweeted his disregard and irreverence toward trans men and women who wear the uniform we condemned him and the actions of his White House in initiating this purge. We condemn the intent of any person who would make it the mission of United States military to discriminate against the very citizens they are charged to defend,” said Matthew Thorn, Executive Director of OutServe-SLDN. “Today, Representative McEachin is standing up for both military personnel and the LGBT community by demanding accountability. We applaud Representative McEachin for continuing to pursue answers and details of the President's actions. We too will not stop in our legal fight and we look forward to working with Rep. McEachin and all our congressional allies in preventing this ban from coming to fruition.”

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Contact: Jamitress Bowden
(202) 225-6365

 

Mr. Secretary:

During a televised press conference on Thursday, August 10, 2017, President Trump said that he had been “doing the military a great favor” when he announced, via Twitter, that the government would not “accept or allow […] transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US military.” The president has since directed you to implement a form of that policy.

We request information about what discussions or correspondence between the White House and the Pentagon, if any, led President Trump to make his assertion. If senior military or Department of Defense personnel asked that the president ban transgender individuals from military service, we request access to any letters, e-mails, telephone transcripts, meeting logs and minutes, or other materials that document such requests. If the Department has records of any other discussions that might have justified the president’s claim, we request to see those materials, as well.

We seek access to these materials in order to determine whether the president, his national security team, and military leaders are actively coordinating policy with one another, or whether the president’s transgender ban announcement reflected a breakdown in communication. As you know, clear communication between the White House and the Pentagon is essential to our nation’s security.

We thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to receiving your reply.

Sincerely,