Say what you will about President Trump, but he sure knows how to change the topic of conversation. This morning, as the talking heads were chewing over Russia and Jeff Sessions for the umpteenth time, Trump unexpectedly tweeted the following announcement:
“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. 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.”
It’s not clear whether this means current trans military members would be discharged or just new recruits barred on medical grounds. And it actually wouldn’t mean that much of a change, since the order by Obama Defense Secretary Ash Carter that allowed transgender troops to serve openly and to undergo gender reassignment surgery at military expense is still in final review and hasn’t taken effect yet.
Naturally, this was greeted among media members, liberals and trans activists as if a neutron bomb had been set off. But it came as a surprise even to those who think the policy change is just common sense. Faith voters, traditional military families and women who value their privacy in bathrooms and changing rooms had just about resigned themselves that the Trump Administration wasn’t going to do anything to reverse the “let everyone create his own reality” policy of the Obama years.
And it isn’t as if Trump has a history of opposing LGBT issues. I’ve always been a little baffled by the accusations of homophobia launched against Trump. That’s just one of the things all Republicans get called by liberals at some point, like racist, sexist and Hitler. But Trump’s company is known for its nondiscrimination policy, he criticized North Carolina for its law requiring people to use the bathroom corresponding to their birth sex, he said Caitlyn Jenner could use any restroom in Trump Tower that she wanted, he suggested that the same-sex marriage issue had been settled by the Supreme Court, and he supported same-sex marriage long before either Obama or Hillary did (publicly at least). Very recently, his Defense Department was saying that women soldiers would have to get used to having men in their showers with them. If he's a homophobe, he's not a very good one. So why this sudden reversal?
Maybe the answer is so simple none of the people who are constantly trying to analyze or second-guess Trump can see it. Maybe he’s telling the truth, and he’s doing this for exactly the reason he says he is: because the Obama policy of turning the US military into a laboratory for social experimentation was wasting money and undermining the effectiveness and lethality of the military.
As Rush Limbaugh likes to say, the reason the military exists is to “kill people and break things.” There’s also the Gen. Patton corollary to that: soldiers don’t win a war by dying for their country, but by making the other poor (bleep!) die for his country.
The fact that many people are so shocked at the suggestion that the military shouldn’t force women to shower with men or put women in the front lines of combat or pay for sex change operations for troops is testimony to just how far to the left Obama dragged America in just eight short years (that felt very long.) The military changed even faster because officers who opposed Obama’s policies were replaced with yes men and women, while troops who were angered by the changes left. The military underwent a radical reshaping very quickly, led by Obama appointees who largely came from liberal academic backgrounds and had never served. Either they didn’t know that their focus on gender and feminism and sensitivity training was undermining troop preparedness and morale – and that in the military, anything that distracts focus from the mission can get people killed -- or else they just didn’t care.
So maybe Trump’s change is exactly what he says: an attempt to get the US military back to its traditional sole focus of being the most lethal, effective and cohesive fighting force on Earth. But if so, he’s going to face a huge battle from liberals who will be fighting the changes tooth and toenail.