POLITICS

Trump issues guidance on transgender military ban

President Trump has ordered the military to stop admitting transgender individuals into the military, sending guidance to the Pentagon on Friday that the White House wants implemented by March of 2018, Fox News has learned.

The president signed and transmitted his directive to the Department of Defense, which includes the Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the Coast Guard.

It directs the secretary of defense and secretary of homeland security to make changes by March 23.

“In President Trump's judgment, the previous administration failed to identify a sufficient basis to conclude that terminating long-standing policy and practice would not hinder military effectiveness, disrupt unit cohesion, tax military resources."

- Senior administration official

The directive reinstates the ban on military service for transgender individuals. It also halts military expenses on sexual reassignment surgery, except for those who have already begun medical procedures, and implements criteria for whether transgender individuals already in the military should be allowed to continue to serve.

Transgender service members have been able to serve openly in the military since last year when then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, during the Obama administration, lifted the prior ban. 

“In President Trump's judgment, the previous administration failed to identify a sufficient basis to conclude that terminating long-standing policy and practice would not hinder military effectiveness, disrupt unit cohesion, tax military resources,” a senior administration official said Friday.

Trump first announced the transgender policy on Twitter on July 26, posting a series of tweets reinstating a ban on transgender individuals in the military that was lifted by then-President Barack Obama at the end of his second term.

The president praised the armed forces in his weekly presidential address, released Friday.

“Every person who puts on the uniform makes our nation proud,” Trump said. “They all come from across our land. They represent every race, ethnicity, and creed. But they all pledge the same oath, fight for the same cause, and operate as one team – with one shared sense of purpose.”

Fox News’ John Roberts and Kristin Brown contributed to this report.