President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would ban transgender people from the US military, a move appealing to some in his conservative political base.
The surprise announcement by Trump came in a series of morning Twitter posts.
Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the administration has not yet decided whether transgender service members already in the military would be immediately thrown out, saying the White House and Pentagon would have to work that out.
The decision reverses Democratic former President Barack Obama’s policy.
“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 US Military,” Trump tweeted, without naming any of the generals or experts.
“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,” he said.
Sanders said Trump had “extensive discussions with his national security team” and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was informed after the president made the decision on Tuesday.
“This was about military readiness,” Sanders told a briefing. “This was about unit cohesion. This was about resources within the military, and nothing more.”