At an event in Washington, Coast Guard Admiral Paul Zukunft spoke out against President Trump’s decision that the military will no longer allow transgender recruits. Zukunft said, “We reached out to all 13 members of the Coast Guard who have come out” as transgender, and he told one, “I will not turn my back. We have made an investment in you and you have made an investment in the Coast Guard and I will not break faith."
All very moving, but there’s a problem. Despite the endless tantrums of those who refuse to accept the results of the election, Trump is the Commander-in-Chief of the US military. Aside from insubordination for refusing to comply with a direct order from the CIC, there’s also Article 88 of the US Uniform Code of Military Justice: “Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense” (and a list of other officials)…“shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.” Maximum punishment is “dismissal, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for one year.”
If you scoff at that, note that over 100 soldiers have been punished for insulting political figures, including Abe Lincoln. In 1993, Air Force Gen. Merrill A. McPeak was in line for Joint Chiefs Chairman until he referred to Bill Clinton as a draft-dodging, pot-smoking skirt chaser. He was forced into early retirement. And Gen. Stanley McChrystal was removed from his command post in Afghanistan after Rolling Stone quoted him making disparaging remarks about President Obama.
Bottom line: if you’re a late night talk show host or a CNN talking head, you can badmouth Trump all you want. But if you are in the military chain of command and you badmouth your CIC and announce that you won’t comply with policy handed down from your superior officers, you’d better have an alternate career plan.