Trump's transgender troops ban divides veterans in Congress – New York News

President Donald Trump’s decision to ban transgender service in the armed forces drove a wedge through military veterans in Congress, with one camp standing squarely behind the commander in chief and the other decrying his order as an ugly attack on dedicated troops.


WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s decision to ban transgender service in the armed forces drove a wedge through military veterans in Congress, with one camp standing squarely behind the commander in chief and the other decrying his order as an ugly attack on dedicated troops.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., a former Army helicopter pilot who lost her legs and partial use of her right arm during the Iraq war, called Trump’s announcement discriminatory.

“When my Black Hawk helicopter was shot down in Iraq, I didn’t care if the American troops risking their lives to help save me were gay, straight, transgender or anything else,” she said. “All that mattered was they didn’t leave me behind.”

Duckworth said if a person’s willing to risk their life as a member of the armed forces “and you can do the job, you should be able to serve — no matter your gender identity, sexual orientation or race.”

Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., said Trump’s decision is understandable given the mounting concern among members of Congress over the amount of money the Pentagon is required to spend on gender transition surgeries and hormone therapy. Russell, a retired Army officer who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said service members undergoing these medical procedures often aren’t ready to deploy.

“I’m not surprised that the…

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