Trump issued his surprise announcement on Wednesday morning in a series of Twitter postings, saying he would ban transgender people from the U.S. military, creating vast uncertainty for thousands of transgender servicemembers. As a presidential candidate, Trump last year vowed to fight for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people. His decision drew condemnation from rights groups and some lawmakers in both parties as politically motivated discrimination but was praised by conservative activists and some of his fellow Republicans. Although the White House said Trump had "extensive discussions with his national security team," his announcement appeared to catch the Pentagon off guard. The White House said Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was informed after the president made the decision on Tuesday to go ahead.
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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.