Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning, a transgender activist and U.S. military whistleblower, issued a stinging rebuke to President Donald Trump following his decision to ban transgender individuals from serving in the military in any capacity.
Trump's move was an abrupt reversal of an Obama administration decision which would have allowed them to serve openly.
Manning, a transgender woman and U.S. Army soldier, served time in prison for violating the Espionage Act after she confessed to leaking more than 700,000 military documents a few years earlier. She also made numerous headlines for her legal battles to receive hormone drugs while incarcerated. Former President Barack Obama pardoned Manning before leaving office; she was released in May.
Twitter cheered Manning on.
1 tomahawk cruise missile: $1.6 million dollars.— Chris Harrison (@CincyNewsGuy) July 26, 2017
1 transgender surgical procedure: $25,000
LET'S BAN TRANSGENDERS! Says the President.
Chelsea you give me strength, thank you— Zest✨ (@ZestieHorsie) July 26, 2017
Agreed 100%, but I’m really starting to worry we don’t even remotely got this.— Chris Gernon (@whileonefork) July 26, 2017
You have more courage in your pinkie nail than he does in his entire blob.— Dum Spiro Spero (@InspiraExspira) July 26, 2017
Let's face it, though: Others weren't so happy.
Cowardice is wanting to use the military to fund social experiments.— GoMomGo3 (@GoMomGo3) July 26, 2017
In a statement, the American Civil Liberties Union, which worked with Manning during her incarceration, called Trump's announcement "outrageous and desperate."
"This has been studied extensively, and the consensus is clear: There are no costs or military readiness drawbacks associated with allowing trans people to fight for their country," said Joshua Block, an ACLU senior staff attorney who represented transgender clients in the past.
Reports indicate that Trump's decision to bar transgender individuals from military service came as a response to an internal House Republican fight over sex reassignment surgery which threatened funding for his border wall. White House sources told reporters that Trump's sudden decision "was, in part, a last-ditch attempt to save a House proposal full of his campaign promises that was on the verge of defeat."