Former Navy secretary on Trump's transgender troops policy: 'It's not the way to treat patriots'

Former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus decried President Donald Trump's efforts to prevent transgender individuals fr...

Posted: Jun 14, 2018 11:30 PM
Updated: Jun 14, 2018 11:30 PM

Former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus decried President Donald Trump's efforts to prevent transgender individuals from serving in the military.

"This notion that all of this work's been done and these people felt safe as transgender, felt safe coming out, joining the military, and then suddenly the rug gets jerked out from under -- it's not the way to treat patriots, it's not the way to build a great military force either," Mabus said on "The Axe Files," a podcast from the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN.

Mabus, who served as head of the Navy under President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017, lamented that the Pentagon "didn't move fast enough" in instituting a policy to allow transgender individuals to openly serve in the military.

"We could have solved that under President Obama but it wasn't done and it was left for the next administration," Mabus explained.

That policy was still under review in July 2017 when Trump announced in a series of tweets that he would reinstate the ban on transgender troops. Mabus suggested the move was done "out of prejudice and bias and to rile up (his) base."

Trump signed a formal directive in August 2017 to ban transgender recruits and prevent the Department of Defense from using its resources to provide medical treatments regimens for those currently serving. The directive was blocked by two federal judges later that year. In March 2018, the White House announced it rescinded its earlier policy and instituted a new policy to ban most transgender individuals from serving following a Pentagon policy review.

Mabus, who pushed for increased diversity during his tenure as Navy secretary, expressed concern about a potential backslide under the Trump administration.

"The way I approached it was you set standards, job-specific standards. Once you've done that, then gender and race and sexual orientation ... doesn't matter the only qualification to get a job ought to be the ability to do the job," he said. "A more diverse force is a stronger force."

Mabus said he "pushed very hard" for the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which he described "one of the dumbest laws you can possibly have or have had."

In discussing its repeal, Mabus recalled the moment he was approached Navy medic who had just finished his third tour of duty with the Marines.

"He said, 'I've been in for 11 years and I'm gay,' and he said 'My biggest fear was that I was going to be found out and kicked out.' Now here's a person, three combat tours and yet his biggest fear was he was going to be kicked out," Mabus said. "How much weaker does that make us? How much worse a force does that make us?"

"We were asking people to lie about who they were, what they were about. And it's just, from every standpoint, it's wrong and it's dumb militarily," he said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319948

Reported Deaths: 7371
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22285267
Hinds20719421
Harrison18431317
Rankin13901282
Jackson13718248
Madison10263224
Lee10059176
Jones8467167
Forrest7832153
Lauderdale7261242
Lowndes6517150
Lamar635188
Lafayette6313121
Washington5425137
Bolivar4841133
Panola4670110
Oktibbeha466198
Pearl River4605147
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425873
Monroe4157135
Union415777
Neshoba4063179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386987
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3371111
Alcorn327272
Scott320374
Yazoo314171
Adams308086
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298589
Tippah291968
Prentiss284161
Leake272074
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264642
Grenada264087
George252251
Newton248663
Tishomingo231868
Winston230181
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190474
Stone188433
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164134
Walthall135347
Greene131834
Lawrence131124
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127238
Amite126242
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108234
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548657

Reported Deaths: 11306
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810031566
Mobile42105831
Madison35690525
Tuscaloosa26173458
Shelby25607254
Montgomery25081614
Baldwin21868314
Lee16278176
Calhoun14719327
Morgan14629285
Etowah14175364
Marshall12453230
Houston10781287
Elmore10293214
Limestone10179157
St. Clair10162251
Cullman9952201
Lauderdale9603250
DeKalb8972190
Talladega8460184
Walker7338280
Autauga7241113
Blount6945139
Jackson6932113
Colbert6413140
Coffee5635127
Dale4928116
Russell454841
Chilton4476116
Franklin431382
Covington4275122
Tallapoosa4138155
Escambia401680
Chambers3728124
Dallas3607158
Clarke353061
Marion3240107
Pike314378
Lawrence3133100
Winston283472
Bibb268564
Geneva257981
Marengo250565
Pickens236962
Barbour234559
Hale227278
Butler224271
Fayette218862
Henry194543
Randolph187544
Cherokee187345
Monroe180041
Washington170539
Macon163051
Clay160059
Crenshaw155957
Cleburne153444
Lamar146837
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124342
Conecuh113630
Coosa111729
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
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