Local reaction to Trump’s tweet announcing transgender ban in US military

President tweets plan to ban transgendered people from serving in U.S. military in "any capacity

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) –  President Donald Trump is ready to ban some people serving in the military. He tweeted Wednesday morning that anyone who is transgender should not be able to serve in “any capacity.” The President’s tweet of plans to forbid transgender Americans from serving in the military comes as a shock to many, who readily shared their reactions to the tweet in Savannah’s City Market.

Ryan Moffner from Charleston is one of them. Moffner says the president is not living up to campaign promises. “Well I think he ran for president saying he was going to represent all the people, and now he’s kind of backpedaling on that like he has on everything. I think he has spent time doing over I believe he’s had over 900 tweets in the short amount of time in office, but his past no significant legislation. I had incredibly low expectations from him anyway and this just proves that I was right.” said Moffner.

Lots of visitors are disappointed in the latest Presidential tweet, like Ken Plord from Connecticut, “I think it’s a pretty ridiculous when you ban anybody who wants to serve in the, in the military. Yeah, I’m disappointed by that,” Plord said.

Carol Howe and Jimmy Richards, a couple from Florida, say they just had their photograph taken with President Trump at the commissioning of the USS Gerald Ford in Norfolk, Virginia. They were on hand because a relative is serving on the nation’s newest aircraft carrier. Howe says transgendered people should be welcomed in the U.S. military. “With them wanting to do that they are showing their love for our country and we need that. We need everybody with the, with the, wanting to volunteer and be a part of our system, you know, that protects us,” Howe said, but adds it is disheartening to hear of Trump’s tweet. “It saddened me. It really did. It made me shake my head.” said Howe. Jimmy Richards agreed. “If they want to serve our country we need to do what we gotta do to make that happen.” Richards said. Fellow Floridian, Ronald Watkins from Fort Lauderdale says a transgendered orientation is no reason to deny anyone the chance to serve in our armed forces. “They are protecting and serving so what’s that got to do with their gender?” Watkins asked.

For the people who support President Trump’s tweet, like Pete Grohol of Savannah, Trump is delivering on his promise to return the United States to glory. “What he’s doing is him, improving the country to what it was. We had a great nation and all they are trying to do is destroy this nation, every which way they can,” Grohol said, adding that the plan to ban transgendered people from the military, in any capacity, is something he can stand behind because it’s removing a policy linked to President Barrack Obama. “Why it’s a good idea? We had a president who was trying to destroy this nation left and right by everything he did, trying to weaken this military, trying to destroy this country.” said Grohol.

But David Leszcynski from Indianapolis said he believes the President’s tweet about the transgender ban is nothing more than a diversion from more important issues to citizens in this country. “I think he’s trying to actually distract us from the healthcare bill. I think that’s really what’s on the majority of people’s minds and I think he’s using shock and awe with his tweets to actually side track us, to distract us from what’s really happening.” Leszcynski said, adding that tweeting a ban won’t necessarily make it a reality. “I really don’t think that he has the wherewithal and the knowledge of what the people want. Because we’ve already made that decision. So I don’t know why he just decides to go back, like, move forward and be done with it. It’s already been done. ” said Leszcynski.

Georgia Equality, the Peach State’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization, issued a response to the President’s tweet late Wednesday afternoon: “We were shocked and disturbed to see today’s tweets from President Trump regarding the service of transgender individuals in our armed forces. The US military is the largest employer of transgender people in the world, employing an estimated 15,000 transgender people. Coming from a President that ran on the promise of creating jobs, making a move to strip jobs from 15,000 Americans shows the President’s true feeling toward LGBTQ people.”

As Georgia’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization, Georgia Equality stands with the 15,000 transgender service members across our country, the more than 350,000 LGBTQ Georgians, and the countless people in this country who know this is the wrong move, to oppose President Trump’s departure from the policies of the US Military. Transgender individuals serve honorably every day in our military and to think that the President would issue this statement in the form of a tweet boggles the mind,” said Georgia Equality’s Executive Director Jeff Graham.

Given that a Defense Department study concluded that transgender service members do not harm unit cohesion, and allowing them to fulfill their duty will have no effect on military readiness or military budgets. “This is done strictly as bigotry and has no purpose. And it has already been proven trans people can serve in the military and not only in our country but also several other countries in the world,” said Monica Helms, a transgender Georgian who served 8 years in the US Navy. We have qualified and trained transgender service members already in place, as well as transgender Americans who are able and willing to serve their country. Retaining talented service members—rather than discharging them simply because of their gender identity—strengthens our military readiness. “It violates our values that anyone who’s qualified for the job should be allowed to do the job,” said Georgia Equality’s Transgender Inclusion Organizer, Chanel Haley. In employment, we should be judged on how we do our jobs, that’s all. Many transgender individuals have major problems when trying to get a job, and it’s because of the sentiment expressed by the President today.” Georgia Equality’s statement read.

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