Follow the Money: Trump's Argument to Ban Trans Military Is Not Just Cruel and Discriminatory, But A Crock
Protests against Trump's latest offense at a military recruiting office in Times Square. AP photo. Front photo from protest by Carlo Allegri/Reuters
Our current clusterf#ck of a government by tweet, whim and petty grievance has descended into yet more chaos and outrage with the sudden decision by Our Glorious If Wildly Erratic Leader to further indulge his fondness for picking on those most vulnerable and banning transgender people from military service. The guy who five times declined himself to serve his country announced the utterly random move by tweet - which FYI legally means nothing - after consultation with "my generals" (actually, not), arguing we need a ban "because our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory" in its failing imperialist adventures and "cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption" of trans soldiers. Bizarrely, he ended with, "Thank you." America's response: Fuck you.
Never mind that candidate Trump promised to fight for the LGBTQ community (r-i-g-h-t), that he seems virtually oblivious of the human and military ramifications of his act, that even GOP lawmakers slammed the move as cruel, unclear and inappropriate - "The President's tweet (is) yet another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter" - that business leaders, rights advocates and others blasted it under the hashtag #LetThemServe - "Here, let me risk my life for you." "First, I need to confirm your gender," said no one ever - and that the military, which is currently studying the issue, wasn't in fact consulted, is pushing back, and essentially responded with a combination of "Wait, what?" and "Sorry folks, just ignore him."
Above all, people have called bullshit on Trump's alleged argument that we can't afford it. To wit: Transition-relayed health costs for trans military is only estimated to be between $2.4 to $8.4 million, less than 0.14% of the military’s medical budget. Meanwhile, Trump's trips to Mar-A-Lago have to date cost taxpayers $29 million, or roughly $3.6 million a pop. Last week, he celebrated the launch of a ship that cost the Pentagon an extra $2.4 billion just in unexpected costs. The Pentagon currently spends about $84 million on Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs. And last year, according to The Washington Post, an internal, subsequently suppressed study of the Pentagon's budget found over $125 billion in preventable waste by the military.
The crock that is Trump's alleged reasoning is that much more obscene given all the other atrocities we pay for, suggesting, shockingly, that perhaps money isn't the point here. But that would mean - wait - that he's lying???? Could that possibly be???? Among the damning pieces of evidence:
- One F-35 fighter jet: at least $94.6 million.
- One M1 tank: at least $16.3 million.
- Uniforms for soldiers in Afghanistan that they couldn’t even use: $28 million.
- Securing Trump Tower for roughly two months: $24 million.
- Protecting Melania and Barron Trump in New York because she refused to move to Washington: at least $18.1 million.
- Paying New York and Palm Beach back for having to do security for Trump: $61 million
- The border wall, if Trump gets his way: $21.6 billion.
For a final, compelling argument, here's Tammy Duckworth explaining that when you're bleeeding to death, gender doesn't much matter.
Democrat, Iraq War vet Sen. Tammy Duckworth: Military deserves better than Pres. Trump's surprise transgender ban https://t.co/B5WQ3NeJqF
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) July 27, 2017