• Bloomberg


The Defense Department said there will be “no modifications” yet to its policy allowing transgender people to serve in the U.S. military, one day after President Donald Trump unexpectedly said they would be barred from serving.

“There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance,” according to a statement Thursday from the office of the Joint Chiefs Chairman Joseph Dunford. “In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect.”

The announcement appeared to push back against Trump’s announcement on Twitter Wednesday that he “will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”

The announcement by Trump caught Pentagon officials and key members of Congress off-guard. It served as a temporary change of topics after Trump provoked criticism from social conservatives and southern senators with his continuing public disparagement of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the most prominent cultural traditionalist in his Cabinet.

The Joint Chiefs statement indicated they need additional guidance to reverse a policy introduced by President Barack Obama. And it suggested that the move is a distraction from the military’s effort to fight multiple conflicts around the world.

“As importantly, given the current fight and the challenges we face, we will all remain focused on accomplishing our assigned missions,” according to the statement.

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