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Trump’s new policy about transgender service members is bullshit.

Then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a rainbow flag given to him by supporter Max Nowak during a campaign rally at the Bank of Colorado Arena on the campus of University of Northern Colorado
Flying the flag upside down is a signal of distress. (Photo credit Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, Trump started the day with a breakfast-time tweet announcing that transgender service members will no longer be allowed to serve in the U.S. military in any capacity.

With three early-morning tweets, Trump has declared that thousands of troops who have chosen to risk their lives for their country, who have done what millions of Americans — including Trump himself — have never done, won’t be allowed to serve because their healthcare is too expensive. And that is an uningnorable factor — Trump has also established that a group of people can be declared a “tremendous burden” and marginalized and cast out into the cold. (And regardless of how you feel about the acts of the military and the military industrial complex, you have to acknowledge that violating the human rights of these troops is unconscionable.)

This is, of course, bullshit.

This is bullshit.

Just to start: There are already transgender people serving actively in the U.S. military. This is probably not a surprise to anyone but Trump, who seems surprised by a lot of very basic things. A Rand Corp. study commissioned by the Department of Defense puts the number of trans service members in active duty somewhere between 1,300 and 6,600, plus as many as 4,000 more in the reserves, plus all of the transgender veterans who have served and were serving back when DT was home with bone spurs fighting his own “personal Vietnam” against STDs.

This is bullshit.

White House officials swear that Trump had run the ban past Defense Secretary James Mattis before he tweeted, but that the final decision was Trump’s and was “White House-driven.” Certainly, with Trump tweeting out the announcement at 8:00 in the morning while the SecDef is on vacation, the whole “consulting with generals” thing, like he gives two shits about the military if they aren’t in the active process of stroking his ego, sounds a lot like bullshit.

One source for the New York Times indicates that he took a couple of days to make the decision, and was more influenced by the Family Research Council and Congress members like Rep. Vicky Hartzler than by anyone in uniform. And Pentagon officials say that, under Mattis’s orders, they’d been studying how to manage and incorporate incoming trans service members into the operations of the military — not how to get rid of them.

I’ll go ahead and call it.

This is bullshit.

Of course, the big claim that transgender people in the military cost sooooo much that their medical costs are a “tremendous burden” (and God damn that man for ruining the word “tremendous” for me) is also bullshit. The aforementioned Rand study estimated the cost of transition-related treatment for transgender service members could range from $2.4 million to $8.4 million — between 0.005 and 0.017 percent of the military’s total health care expenditures. Annual cost for erectile dysfunction medicine? $84 million. So the military is currently paying 10 times more for service members to get a boner than they would be for transition care. Viagra alone accounts for nearly five times the military healthcare spending.

Transition care for transgender troops is one-fifth the cost of service members getting Viagra-fueled boners.

It’s one-tenth the price of an F-35 joint strike fighter, which is so historically buggy that it can’t fly in thunderstorms.

It’s 0.007 percent of the $125 billion in bureaucratic waste the Pentagon tried to bury in 2015.

This is bullshit.

An unnamed White House official told Axios’s Jonathan Swan that it’s actually all about the midterm elections in the Rust Belt.

This forces Democrats in Rust Belt states like Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin to take complete ownership of the issue. How will the blue collar voters in these states respond when senators up for re-election in 2018 like Debbie Stabenow are forced to make their opposition a key plank of their campaigns?

So… they’re throwing trans people under the bus so that when Democratic senators yell, “Get that bus off of those trans people!” all the blue-collar voters in the Rust Belt will be bigoted and hateful enough to say, “Debbie Stabenow doesn’t think transgenders should get run over by buses! I’m votin’ GOP”? Shit, we already knew the White House hates trans people — now we learn exactly what they think of their own base.

This is bullshit.

Here’s what it’s really about: Trump is a pissy little baby. His stupid son took a meeting in search of Russian espionage and tweeted about it like it was okay, his son-in-law and former campaign manager are speaking in front of closed sessions of Congress, and every time he gives Putin a tongue bath, the media call him on it. For all their efforts, Congress just can’t come together behind the cruel and heartless repeal-and-replace healthcare disaster that was a cornerstone campaign promise for him, and no matter how many positions he takes on the subject, none of them ever works. The attorney general he appointed pretty much specifically to get him out of the whole Russia thing realized that it would be unethical for him to do so, and now there’s a for-real investigator sniffing awfully close to his financial records. He announced Made in America Week, and people pointed out that none of his shit, his daughter’s shit, or his hotels’ shit was actually made in America. After he made such a BFD out of strong-arming Carrier to stay in the U.S., they’ve started layoffs, and the people who were originally snowed by him are starting to come around. And he didn’t even get to drive the fire truck for real!

So what’s the country’s LGBT-friendliest president in the history of ever going to do about it? Lash out at a group he’s pretty confident he can get his base to lash out at along with him, so he can feel all popular and worshipped again. With conflict brewing within the House GOP about whether or not the Pentagon should pay for transition-related medical costs, Trump swept in and said, “Fuck ’em all! Not in my military,” like someone who bangs out a dent in the bumper by driving the car into a wall. Transgender service members are a collective victim of Trump’s need to do something, anything right after accomplishing absolutely fuck-all in his first six months in office with nothing decent on the horizon.

This is bullshit.

The biggest bullshit, of course, is this fantasy that the White House keeps pushing about how Trump cares about the LGBT community. It’s been thin and unconvincing from the get-go, but I hope we can finally put it to bed. He rolled back Obama’s protections of transgender students. Even before the campaign really began, he was openly supportive of North Carolina’s heinous bathroom bill. The only times he’s really come out and openly shown support for the LGBT community was when he could use them to make a jab against Hillary Clinton or Muslims. Hell, he choose Mike Pence as his vice president. And the Department of Justice has just argued in court that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act doesn’t cover sexual orientation. Trump has never been LGBT-friendly, and he’s only been marginally successful at pretending. He’s bullshit.

Here’s what’s not bullshit:

On Twitter, Saundra Mitchell talks about what happened to service members who were discharged under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Read the whole thread, because the threat of this new policy isn’t only that these service members will lose their jobs, their associated benefits, and their ability to serve their country (as if that weren’t enough): Service members affected by DADT were given a general discharge on a Section 8 — “mentally unfit for service” — and left to fend for themselves in the civilian world. The White House has been vague about exactly how and when their new policy will be enacted, because they still have to work things out — “lawfully determine” things — with the Pentagon, despite Trump’s claims that he’d been consulting with them to begin with, but I don’t think it’s safe to assume that it will be any more compassionate than DADT-era procedures.

Also not bullshit: This is not a distraction. This is people’s lives. Everything Donald Trump does could be said to be a distraction from something else he just did or is about to do, because everything he does is heinous. Whether or not he’s setting transgender rights on fire to distract from his other personal or political failings, the impact will be real on real people, and it’s not like he’s going to be satisfied and sit down after a hard day of being evil once all of the trans people are neatly under a bus. #TransRightsAreHumanRights.

Also not bullshit: Retired Navy SEAL Kristin Beck invites Trump to tell her to her face she’s not worthy. I’d pay money to watch.