BOSTON (CBS) — President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that the government will not allow “transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military,” a move that’s being strongly condemned by elected leaders in Massachusetts.
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Bryan Bishop, the founder of Massachusetts group OUTVETS, said he was stunned by Trump’s decision.
“All of the sudden right out of the blue from the Commander in Chief, the person who swore to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States for all Americans, is saying ‘We don’t want you,’” Bishop said.
Rebecca McDonald kept her transgender life a secret from the Air Force when she served during the Vietnam War. Now openly a transgender woman and comfortable in her own skin, she says President Trump’s tweets signify a major step backwards for the military.
“We just lost everything we worked for. Everything. My personal feeling? Our president just put a target on my back because I’m transgender,” McDonald said.
Sen. Ed Markey released a statement saying that the president’s decision “is undermining our military readiness.”
“President Trump is playing to the worst instincts of prejudice, bigotry, and ignorance with this ban,” he said. “Division and exclusion only makes our military weaker, not stronger.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has clashed with the president in the past on Twitter, called the policy change “shameful.”
Attorney General Maura Healey tweeted that transgender people serving in the military deserve respect.
And Boston Mayor Marty Walsh slammed the move as “un-American.”
Under former President Barack Obama, the Pentagon announced last year that transgender service members would be allowed to serve openly in the military because it was “the right thing to do.”
The Bay State’s House delegation is also speaking out against Trump’s policy reversal.
“To the thousands of brave transgender men and women serving today in uniform, please know that a grateful nation does not take your service, your patriotism for granted,” Rep. Joe Kennedy III said in Congress. “You deserve better from your president.”
Speaker of the House Bob DeLeo called the ban bigoted and hateful.
Senate President Stan Rosenberg said it should be reversed.
Bishop said he does not believe Trump’s explanation that the move was done due to the high cost of services for transgender military members.
“I’m sorry. That whole conversation about medical costs and all that other kind of stuff, I don’t buy it. And neither does anyone else,” said Bishop.