“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,” he wrote.
The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for an estimate of these costs.
Ortega, who transitioned to male while serving in the Army and served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, said, “When Donald Trump attacks what America calls its heroes or its warrior class, it means it’s only a matter of time before he starts attacking and disassembling the American public, and that’s what I have the most fear of.” Hours after Trump’s tweets, Defense Secretary Mattis, who has been on vacation this week, was publicly silent and the Pentagon referred all questions to the White House. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said the Defense Department was working with the White House to “address the new guidance” from Trump.A transgender woman, who identified herself only as Layla, addresses protesters in the Castro District, Wednesday, July 26, 2017, in San Francisco.Demonstrators flocked to a plaza named for San Francisco gay-rights icon Harvey Milk to protest President Donald Trump’s abrupt ban on transgender troops in the military. Rodriguez) Protesters listen to speakers at a demonstration against a proposed ban of transgendered people in the military in the Castro District, Wednesday, July 26, 2017, in San Francisco.His action is “harmful, misguided and weakens, not strengthens our military,” said Democratic Sen. John Mc Cain, the Arizona Republican and Vietnam War hero, said Trump was simply wrong.“Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving,” he said.