SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, July 26, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch has spoken out against President Donald Trump’s comments Wednesday that his government will not “accept or allow” transgender people to serve in the U.S. military, “in any capacity.”
Trump created a social media storm after he made the remarks in a series of early-morning posts on Twitter.
Hatch also spoke out on Twitter after the group Utah Indivisible, which calls itself ‘the resistance to the Trump agenda,’ tagged local lawmakers asking them if they stood with transgender Utahns. “Yes,” Hatch tweeted, following his succinct response with a longer statement.
“I don’t think we should be discriminating against anyone,” Hatch tweeted three hours after his initial response. “Transgender people are people, and deserve the best we can do for them. I look forward to getting much more information and clarity from our military leaders about the policy the President tweeted today.”
Trump’s comments come after the U.S. Department of Defense in late June announced a delay in allowing transgender people to join the military.
“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,” the president wrote. “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. Thank you.”
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis had previously announced a six-month review, to begin July 1, in which he would work with service chiefs and secretaries to evaluate the prospect of allowing transgender people to enlist.
In a memo announcing the delay, Mattis said his “intent is to ensure that I personally have the benefit of the views of the military leadership and of the senior civilian officials who are now arriving” in the Pentagon over the matter. “I am confident we will continue to treat all service members with dignity and respect,” Mattis wrote.
Several other politicians and LGBT groups were quick to criticize Trump’s statement.
The National Center for Transgender Equality said Trump made an “egregious attack” against transgender service members, estimating about 15,000 transgender people serve in the U.S. armed services.
Hatch told CNN back in March he is planning to run for re-election next year after encouragement from Trump, setting aside his plans to retire.
Hatch, the longest serving GOP senator in U.S. history, is 83 and has served as senator since 1977, a full four decades.
Hatch is third in the line of succession to the president as the Senate’s president pro tempore. Hatch’s comments came after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Trump both asked him to run again.
“His pitch is he needs me,” Hatch said of Trump.