Bonamici: Banning transgender military members is 'discriminatory and unacceptable'
Several members of the Oregon Congressional Delegation spoke out in response to a statement from President Donald Trump on Twitter announcing a ban of transgender individuals in the U.S. Military.
"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 U.S. Military," the statement read. "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."
Oregon Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici released statements of their own, decrying President Trump's ban.
"Discrimination doesn't make America safer," said Merkley in a statement. "We should gratefully accept the contributions of all patriots who want to serve our nation. Today's Twitter announcement is a disgraceful attack on the thousands of transgender Americans who have served our nation with honor and dignity, and sends a troubling message to those who want to serve in the future – you're not welcome."
Merkley called for the White House to reverse the decision, and threatened action in the senate to undercut defense spending.
Wyden was asked about the ban on Thursday morning.
"I cannot imagine making national security policy by Tweet, and … to do something like that, which is clearly designed to discriminate rather than to focus on those who can serve our country, particularly when we need talented people who want to stand up for for America and our values," Wyden said. "I think it seems very, very odd."
Bonamici referenced Oregonians she had met, including members of the transgender community, who had served in the military. In her statement, Bonamici asked the Defense Department to continue accepting transgender servicemembers.
"The President's decision to deny them the opportunity to serve goes against the values that our military fights to protect," she said. "Turning our backs on these transgender individuals is discriminatory and unacceptable. We overturned Don't Ask, Don't Tell more than five years ago, and military experts have reported no negative effects."