Callous, cold, irrational.
Trump’s order banning transgender individuals from serving in the military has bee called a lot of things. Emerging from left-field in a series of unhinged tweets earlier this summer, the policy simply does not make sense.
But, in keeping with Trump’s general strategy of steeling himself against criticism and failure, the ban is uniquely structured. It calls for Defense James Mattis – considered by many to be one of the “adults” in the White House – to initiate a study to discover the best policy to put in place. Per Mattis’ own words:
I will establish a panel of experts serving within the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security to provide advice and recommendations on the implementation of the president’s direction.
The verdict, of course, is already in. The costs related to medical care for transgender soldiers is minuscule, and there is absolutely no evidence that their presence in the military causes discord among their units.
Yet Trump – pandering to the most hateful of his base – is passing the buck, handing responsibility for figuring out the measure’s shape to people who he knows already disagree with it.
Under Mattis’ watch, what will the review conclude? As we have seen in recent months, the generals in Trump’s orbit are increasingly willing to voice their opposition to the flailing president in public.
Mattis has an opportunity to make an ethical stand on behalf of trasgender patriots bravely volunteering to serve (something Trump, of course, knows nothing about).