Following a series of tweets by President Donald Trump that issued a ban on transgender people in the military, Connecticut officials reacted.
Gov. Dannel Malloy called Trump's announcement ignorant and troubling.
"The reality is that a person’s gender identity or expression has nothing to do with their willingness or ability to defend our nation," Malloy said. "Any able person who wishes to serve in the military should have that right--regardless of race, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. In recent years, our military has made great strides to be more inclusive."
On Wednesday, the governor signed an executive order that reinforces " the state’s nondiscrimination policies within the Connecticut Military Department following an announcement from President Trump this morning that he intends to ban people who are transgender from serving in the military in any capacity."
The order means the Connecticut National Guard, the Connecticut Air National Guard, and the other armed forces can take "no action that discriminates against service members in enlistment, promotion, or any other aspect of their service, on the basis of their gender identity or expression, unless superseded by federal law, regulation, or formal directive from the U.S. Department of Defense."
The governor's orders also "directs the Connecticut Military Department to review existing personnel policies and any formal directive from the Department of Defense or other federal entity, whether issues today or in the future, to ensure that service members are afforded the maximum protection and the greatest opportunity to serve our state and nation, regardless of their gender identity or expression, and to minimize any discriminatory impact on service members from any federal directive."
To read the full executive order, click here.
Malloy said Trump's message sends a frightening signal that the government condones discrimination.
"For our part, we have been fierce and vocal advocates for the rights of transgender individuals in Connecticut, and we will not abandon them now," he said. "This is a wrong-minded and harmful policy and we will explore our options for what can be done to stop it.”
Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said excluding citizens from public service is not a decent foundation for policy making.
"This policy is reckless and dangerous, and it impugns the integrity of transgender men and women who are already honorably serving in our nation’s military," Wyman said. "Connecticut supports its LGBTQ residents, we expect Washington to as well. I urge the President to instead focus his time and energy in service to the values of the American people, our economy, and our standing as a world leader.”
Trump's tweets, in part, said that after he consulted with his generals and military experts, he U.S. government will not accept transgender individuals to serve in the military in any capacity.
"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," Trump wrote.
The first member of the Connecticut Delegation to react to the news was Rosa DeLauro.
Discrimination isn’t patriotic. Members of our armed services deserve better than Pres Trump’s shameful transgender ban.— Rosa DeLauro (@rosadelauro) July 26, 2017
Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty also reacted to the president's tweets.
We should honor the service of every patriotic American who is brave enough to wear the uniform. Every single one. #ProtectTransTroops— Elizabeth Esty (@RepEsty) July 26, 2017
Sen. Chris Murphy said discrimination has no place in the armed forces.
Anyone who wants to & is qualified to serve in our military should be able to do so, period. Discrimination has no place in our Armed Forces— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) July 26, 2017
Sen. Blumenthal said service members should be able accepted based on their ability to fight, train and deploy without discrimination.
"Many transgender Americans have served honorably and capably – and countless others are serving now and would seek to serve in the future," Blumenthal said. "President Trump should be thanking these service members and veterans for their dedication and commitment to our nation instead of barring them from service. This rash and surprising tweet contradicts the Department of Defense’s previous policy decision to allow transgender servicemembers to serve openly, and constitutes official discrimination.”
Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) called the decision by the president "the height of irresponsibility."
"His tweet was issued at the same time the Department of Defense is undergoing a six-month comprehensive review of the policy allowing transgender Americans to serve in the military. Undercutting their work, and setting military policy by tweet, is reckless and disrespectful in the extreme," Courtney said in a statement on Wednesday. “The president’s statement also flies in the face of the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen, who just yesterday called for equal treatment of qualified and well-trained service members regardless of gender identity. Since our nation eliminated racial segregation in the military 69 years ago today, the United States has expanded opportunity for more Americans, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, to wear our nation’s uniform. This order is a clear reversal of that legacy which fundamentally recognizes that it is in our nation’s best interest to find the “best and brightest."
Courtney also stated "the president’s use of the phrase ‘my generals’ when referring to the senior commanders of the United States Armed Forces flies in the face of our democratic norms and institutions.
"This is a nation of laws, not rulers. While the president is the Commander in Chief of the military, military leaders do not serve him alone. They took an oath to preserve and protect the Constitution, not any one person," Courtney said.
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