“When President Trump issued his official memorandum [in August of 2017] he ordered Mattis in that memo to provide the president with a written plan on how to implement the plan by Feb 21. So we’ve all been waiting, It’s obviously an important recommendation on exactly how the plan would be implemented.”
Mattis was directed to have the Pentagon study whether transgender personnel negatively impacted readiness and provide the White House guidance on whether Trump’s July ban should be reversed.
As of midday Wednesday the Pentagon had not issued guidance, said Pentagon spokesman Army Maj. David Eastburn.
“The secretary has his recommendation for the President but has not provided it yet. When he’s ready to provide it, he will,” Eastburn said.
The guidance is not expected to be made public, several defense officials told Military Times.
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It was not clear if on that date the White House would also make Mattis’ February recommendations public. In addition, parts of Trump’s August directive have already been overturned in the courts, further muddying what exactly the transgender policy will be.
In the August memo, Trump also directed that no new transgender recruits be allowed to enlist in the military, upending earlier direction from Mattis that set a six-month delay that expired Jan. 1. Multiple federal courts have also ruled against that limitation, and transgender personnel were allowed to join the military as of Jan. 1, 2018.
The courts are still weighing in on the wider issue of whether any restrictions on transgender service are constitutional. In the two federal cases that Minter is involved with, administration attorneys have pointed to the anticipated policy from Mattis as a reason for delay. The cases are also in a heated discovery phase where attorneys for the transgender plaintiffs are trying to determine on what basis Trump made his July decision, and in consultation with whom.
On Wednesday BuzzFeed reported on emails it obtained that it said showed that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford was not consulted and caught off guard by the tweet, In subsequent memos to service members and in Congressional testimony Dunford has repeatedly said “any individual who meets the physical and mental standards … should be afforded the opportunity to continue to serve.”
Dunford spokesman Air Force Col. Pat Ryder would not confirm whether the emails BuzzFeed obtained were authentic, stating that “because there is ongoing litigation regarding DoD policy on transgender accessions, it would be inappropriate for us to comment at this time on questions related to actual or alleged internal DoD correspondence.”
Meanwhile, the first new transgender recruits are getting closer to enlisting, Minter said. Nicolas Talbott, 24, is one of the plaintiffs Minter is representing. Talbott has completed all of the medical paperwork necessary, including verification that he has had 18 months of stability after transitioning to a male.
“Next step is to schedule the MEPS,” Minter said.
- ^ Wednesday deadline (www.militarytimes.com)
- ^ in two of the four federal lawsuits (www.militarytimes.com)
- ^ official memorandum (www.militarytimes.com)
- ^ Trump said in the August 2017 memo. (www.whitehouse.gov)
- ^ This young man is transgender, and ready to enlist Jan. 1 (www.militarytimes.com)
- ^ Mattis directed last August, (www.militarytimes.com)
- ^ Dunford has repeatedly said (www.militarytimes.com)
- ^ Nicolas Talbott, (www.militarytimes.com)