The nation’s top military officer on Tuesday told Congress that transgender troops who meet existing standards should not be kicked out of the military, underscoring the Pentagon leadership’s reluctance to carry out President Donald Trump’s earlier call to ban them from serving “in any capacity.”
“I believe any individual who meets the physical and mental standards and is worldwide-deployable and currently serving should be afforded the opportunity to continue to serve,” Marine Gen. Joe Dunford told the Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing on his reappointment as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Dunford’s advice meshes with “interim guidance” that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis issued earlier this month for the military to follow while a study on transgender service members is underway.
In July, Trump tweeted that transgender people would not be allowed to serve in the military “in any capacity.” But a more formal directive Trump signed in August banning new transgender recruits deferred to the Pentagon on what to do about transgender troops already in uniform.
“That’s my advice in private…