The reasoning behind President Donald Trump’s sudden Twitter announcement Wednesday that upended Capitol Hill, the military and LGBT rights activists—that transgender people would be banned from military service—reportedly came down to one factor: funding for the billionaire’s much-hyped idea of constructing a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
In order to boost that funding, public funding of surgeries for transgender service members would be removed from a defense spending bill that would fulfill the president’s promises to increase military spending and construct that wall. Conservative Republicans and national defense "hawks" have been focusing on the costs of surgeries as the House tinkered with the bill, and Trump made his decision in order to make sure the bill would move forward, Politico reported, citing White House and congressional sources.
There are nearly 7,000 transgender individuals who are serving in the military in some capacity, and how they would be affected going forward has yet to be announced. A policy put in place by President Barack Obama, which is now being overturned, allowed transgender troops to serve openly.