Barack Obama will go down in history as one of the worst, if not the worst president in U.S. history.
His “leadership” left the world in chaos, our economy in shambles, national debt approaching $20 trillion, and our nation divided as never before in a profound crisis of identity and confidence. And as our culture moves from dysfunctional to bizarre, one of the hot button issues Obama left behind is transgenders in the military, and forcing taxpayers to underwrite the cost of elective transgender surgery for military members.
Donald Trump was elected president on the hope that he would reorient national priorities to actually serve our nation. One such action he took in August was to end military payments for elective transgender surgery and to bar transgenders from enlisting in the military. He suspended recruitment of transgender people, ordered the Defense Department to develop policies regarding those transgender service members already on duty, and only pay for transgender surgeries that were in progress.
The cost of transgender surgery can exceed $100,000. Estimates of the number of transgenders in the military range from a low of 1,320 to as high as 12,800. If all individuals identifying as “transgender” elected the surgery, it could cost the military between $132 million and $1.3 billion. It is claimed that only a small percentage will actually undergo the surgery, but doctors ironically claim that it is medically necessary. Either way, with taxpayers underwriting the cost, many more will likely take advantage of it.
As with all the extreme left’s other agendas, Trump’s transgender ban predictably met with instant opposition. As commander in chief, the president’s authority to do this is crystal clear. But led by mostly Obama or Clinton appointees, numerous courts sided with the left, issuing stays on Trump’s order. As they did with Trump’s immigration ban, the courts have once again usurped presidential powers to interject themselves into what is clearly a presidential prerogative.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis followed President Trump’s order to study the issue, and was told to develop an implementation policy by early next year. He denies claims that he opposes the president, but on the transgender issue has shown signs of disagreement. Last July, when the Defense Authorization bill was being debated, an amendment to block sex reassignment surgery was proposed by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO). As Hartzler explained:
There are many problems, but funding transition surgeries with tax dollars is problematic because the surgery is very costly. … Surgical recovery time decreases the deployability of our soldiers, and funding transition surgeries means diverting money from other defense priorities.
Mattis lobbied Hartzler to withdraw the amendment and has slow-walked a decision regarding military policy towards trans military members. He may have been influenced by Anthony Kurta, who was nominated by President Trump to be Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. Kurta is currently acting in that position, and served as undersecretary under President Obama from 2014 to 2017.
Kurta is a prominent transgender rights activist. It was Kurta who declared June to be DoD’s LGBT Pride Month, and was keynote speaker at its 6th annual LGBT Pride celebration this June. Mattis said this summer that Kurta and others would be influential in developing transgender policy for the military.
On December 11, D.C. district court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, a Clinton appointee, ordered the Pentagon to begin accepting transgenders in military service by January 1. The Pentagon responded on Wednesday, December 22, with its guidance for recruiters to carry out this order, thus ignoring the commander-in-chief and acceding to the demands of a blatantly partisan court. Groups opposed to the Trump policy have added this document to assist them in their various lawsuits against the ban. The Office of Personnel Management, which guides personnel policy throughout the federal government, has also released its own policy memo.
The Trump administration appealed Judge Kollar-Kitelly’s decision, but was rejected by two separate courts last week. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, denied the appeal on the day after the Pentagon announcement, and Friday, a three-judge-panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that “the administration had ‘not shown a strong likelihood that they will succeed on the merits of their challenge to a district court’s order blocking the ban.”
Since last year’s presidential election, President Trump has been thwarted at every turn by the extreme left, which refuses to accept that election’s result. They are aided and abetted by virtually the entire roster of elected Democrats, all too many establishment Republicans, as well as courts packed with Obama and Clinton judges and the federal bureaucracy, in what has come to be called the “Deep State.” President Trump adds to this problem, knowingly or otherwise, by allowing Obama holdovers to serve in his administration.
This defiance of clear executive authority is creating a constitutional crisis. If agencies and the courts can continue to defy the will of the people through its duly elected president, our constitutional republic will cease to exist. The administrative state will reign supreme. Trump needs to exercise his authority forcefully to end this Deep State abuse of power.