Representative Joe Kennedy slammed President Donald Trump's decision to ban transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military in any capacity, telling them ''you deserve better from your president.'' Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: On the House floor, Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) slammed U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to not allow transgender individuals to serve in the U.S. military in any capacity. "Today, the President of the United States looked American soldier's in the eye and dared to question their patriotism. Their courage," said Kennedy. "You deserve better from your President," he said. In a series of Twitter posts, Trump wrote: "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," the Republican president wrote. The Pentagon ended its ban on openly transgender people serving in the U.S. military last year under Democratic President Barack Obama's administration. It was expected to start allowing transgender people to begin enlisting this year, provided they had been "stable" in their preferred gender for 18 months. Last month, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis approved a six-month delay in allowing transgender recruits to join the U.S. armed forces. The delay alarmed transgender advocates. As soon as Trump made his announcement, the American Civil Liberties Union called for transgender service members to contact its lawyers for help. "Thousands of trans service-members on the front lines deserve better from their commander in chief, (at)realDonaldTrump. Contact the ACLU," the group said on Twitter. Another pro-LGBT rights group, Lambda Legal, made a similar appeal. "Contact us (at)LambdaLegal if you are affected by this outrageous reversal. We are here for you," the organization tweeted. The Pentagon and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment and elaboration on Trump's tweets. Last year, then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter cited a study by the RAND Corporation think tank saying there were about 2,500 transgender active-duty service members and 1,500 reserve transgender service members.