Sorry, Media, the Defense Department Is Not Going to Disobey Trump On Transgender Policy

Ever since President Trump was elected, there has been a garden industry developed of people who are looking to the federal government to disobey presidential orders. The high water mark of this was probably Obama loyalist Sally Yates refusing to enforce Trump’s first executive order on banning travel to the US from seven states that were either failed states or state sponsors of terror.

The minor orgasm had by the Washington Post‘s Josh Rogin as he breathlessly and falsely reported that the entire senior staff at State Department had resigned rather than work for Trump (they were actually fired) and a screaming match between Steve Bannon and then-Secretary of Homeland Defense John Kelly over, again, the travel ban is but the tip of the iceberg. Since the Korean crisis has mushroomed there have been calls for the Defense Department to refuse any orders from Trump to attack North Korea and to make the use of nuclear weapons a Congressional prerogative.

Another point of friction has been the statements by the Secretary of the Navy and the Commandant of the Coast Guard that seem to be in contradiction to Trump’s stated intention to ban “transgender” persons from joining the military and to terminate the tenure of those currently on active duty. When coupled with Defense Secretary James Mattis lobbying against a provision in the NDAA that would have prohibited the military from paying for sex change operations, this created a rumor that Defense was going to say they just were not going to do what the Commander in Chief had directed.

(As an aside, this is not unique to Trump. During the 2005-2006 time frame of the Iraq War, you had a series of op-eds in the Washington Post and New York Times advocating that the military simply refuse to obey the orders they received from Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld and from President Bush. Had the powers that be not blown up the archive of old RedState posts, I’d provide links. Why anyone would want the US military to start deciding that it was a political force in domestic politics is beyond me, but the “caudillo” syndrome runs deep on the left.)

Even when the facts contradict this scenario, you still find the media plowing ahead. Take this from The Hill: Pentagon may propose changes to Trump transgender ban.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Monday hinted that the Pentagon may propose its own changes to President Trump’s plan to ban all transgender individuals from the military.

This is actually NOT what Mattis said.

“I’m going to wait until I get the direction from the White House and then we will study it and come up with what the policy should be,” Mattis said.

“The policy is going to address whether or not transgenders can serve, under what conditions, what medical support they require, how much time would they be perhaps non-deployable, leaving others to pick up their share of everything,” Mattis said.

“There’s a host of issues and I’m learning more about this than I ever thought I would. It’s obviously very complex.”

Mattis said that Pentagon personnel are engaged with White House staff in drafting the policy.

“I’ve got my people over there in the room to give them any military background that they might need to inform them,” he said. “They write their own policy of course, so we’re in a supporting role right now.”

When pressed on Trump’s decision to announce the policy before the Pentagon study was completed, Mattis said that the president was within his authority to move ahead.

The Pentagon clearly intends to draft a wide ranging policy that is in compliance with the President’s directive. The most important issue they have to wrestle with is how to deal with the current situation. Will they be allowed to finish their term of service or be immediately discharged? If allowed to finish their terms, will they be deployable or not? Will they be able to get surgery at military expense? What sort of discharge? Will the people who have undergone surgery at military expense be eligible for medical care after discharge?

The safe bet is that the policy is going to heavily focus on those who have declared themselves to be transgender and the amount of pushback on the enlistment/commissioning of transgenders will be minimal. The military is not going to tell Trump it won’t do what it has been ordered to do.