'Trump chooses bigotry over security': Oregon leaders push back against Trump transgender ban

President's tweet stuns transgender soldiers

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Oregon lawmakers voiced their opposition to President Donald Trump's announcement Wednesday morning that transgender people will not be allowed to serve in the U.S. military in "any capacity."

Trump made the announcement in a string of three tweets Wednesday morning.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown tweeted about the ban on Wednesday morning. "Our country is stronger thanks to all brave patriots willing to serve," she wrote. "A trans military ban is yet another attempt to divide and distract."

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden also took to Twitter to criticize the decision by the president. "Trump chooses bigotry over security," Wyden wrote. "Shutting out transgender Americans who want to serve our country makes us less safe, not safer."

Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley tweeted twice about the move. "Distraction doesn't make America safer," he wrote. "We should gratefully accept the contributions of all patriots who want to serve our nation." Merkley followed that tweet with a second, writing, "In the face of @realdDonaldTrump's attacks on the #LGBTQ community, we must push harder than ever for #EqualityForward."

Merkley also released a statement through his office Wednesday afternoon. The full statement is below:

“Discrimination doesn’t make America safer. We should gratefully accept the contributions of all patriots who want to serve our nation. Today’s Twitter announcement is a disgraceful attack on the thousands of transgender Americans who have served our nation with honor and dignity, and sends a troubling message to those who want to serve in the future – you’re not welcome.

“Our military is here to protect our nation, and all of those who serve do so with courage, dignity and selflessness. President Trump’s Twitter announcement reflects none of those characteristics and is instead a statement of intolerance and backward thinking.

“President Trump and Vice President Pence should reverse this decision immediately. And if they don’t, well, the Senate will be taking up the defense authorization soon.”

Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer responded to Trump's string of tweets with his own. His first tweet read, "Shameful & cowardly to divide Americans willing to serve & sacrifice, for Trump's politican gain. #betrayal". He next tweeted that the ban is "Not about national security, or saving money, & it's definitely not about fabricated claims of 'disruption.' " In his third tweet on the topic, Blumenauer wrote, "It's about discrimination against an entire class of brave Americans who are protecting & defending our country."

Oregon Rep. Suzanne Bonamici tweeted four times about the ban. "Denying #transgender people opportunity to serve goes against the values that our military fights to protect. #ProtectTransTroops," she wrote. Her next tweet references the now-defunct policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," writing "We overturned #DADT five + years ago and military experts report no negative effects." Bonamici then wrote that, "Forcing troops to hide who they are and denying them health care services should diminish effectiveness of our military." Her fourth tweet read, "I urge @DeptofDefense to continue to accept the transgender servicemembers & their families who are faithfully serving. #ProtectTransTroops".

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler tweeted the following in response to the ban: "There are thousands of transgender Americans serving in the military. You have earned our thanks and respect."

KGW has reached out to Rep. Greg Walden for a statement.

Jared Cowley is a digital producer at KGW.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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