Kristin Beck spent 20 years as a Navy SEAL, including time on Team 6—and she would like President Trump to tell her in person why he feels she didn't belong in the military. "Let's meet face-to-face and you tell me I'm not worthy," the transgender veteran tells Business Insider. "Transgender doesn't matter. Do your service," says Beck, whose 13 deployments included service in Iraq and Afghanistan. "I was defending individual liberty," she says. "I defended for Republicans. I defended for Democrats. I defended for everyone." Beck rejects Trump's claim that barring transgender people from serving will spare the military the "tremendous burden" of their medical costs. "You're talking about .000001% of the military budget," she says. In other coverage:
- The White House doesn't appear to have worked out the details of how Trump's decision will affect active-service transgender troops, who are believed to number in the thousands, BuzzFeed reports. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to provide details on the issue in a Wednesday briefing, and threatened to end the briefing early if reporters kept asking about it.
- Trump's decision will weaken the military, and not just by costing it an estimated 15,000 active-duty and reserve troops, Phillip Carter and Amy Schafer write at Slate. Millennials are strongly in favor of equal rights for LGBT people, they write, and Trump's decision will send the message to potential recruits that the military isn't the kind of employer they want to work for.
- The Washington Post takes a close look at Trump's claim that medical care for transgender people would be a "tremendous burden" on the military and finds that even the highest cost estimate is just $8.4 million a year—or around 10% of what the military spends on erectile dysfunction medication. The military spend on Viagra alone is around five times the estimated annual cost of providing transition-related medical care to transgender troops.
- Politico looks at the "legal land mine" of Trump's decision and predicts that the military will face "profound" legal difficulties if it tries to expel transgender soldiers who are already serving openly.
- FiveThirtyEight finds that Republican senators aren't falling over themselves to rush to support the ban: Only two GOP senators endorsed it Wednesday, while nine (not all of them moderates) said they didn't support it. Many others chose to remain silent.
- Transgender servicemembers vowed to fight any attempt to force them out of the military. "I would like to see them try to kick me out of my military," Staff Sgt. Logan Ireland tells the Air Force Times. "You are not going to deny me my right to serve my country when I am fully qualified and able and willing to give my life."
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