Connect with us

National

Kellyanne Conway says trans military ban is ‘forthcoming’

Trump’s senior advisor suggests Trump’s tweet is now policy guidance

Published

on

Kellyanne Conway speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Kellyanne Conway, a senior advisor to President Trump, appeared on ABC News’ “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” Sunday and was asked about the series of unexpected Trump tweets posted on July 26 announcing a ban on transgender military service. She confirmed that a tweet is not the same as a policy, that the policy change had been discussed for a “very long time,” and the new policy guidance, order and law “obviously are forthcoming.”

Stephanopoulous noted that Trump said he had consulted with “my generals and military experts,” and concluded that “the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military.” The reason, despite a Pentagon-commissioned study that said otherwise: “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.

The Rand study last year estimated  “the number of transgender individuals currently serving in the active component of the U.S. military at between 1,320 and 6,630 out of a total of about 1.3 million service members….25 to 130 gender transition-related surgeries could be utilized a year among active component service members. Additional health care costs could range between $2.4 million and $8.4 million, representing an approximate 0.13-percent increase.”

Stephanopoulous noted that the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of staff said he’s going to wait for an official order from the president before the Pentagon moves forward; the commandant of the Coast Guard said he’s backing his transgender servicemembers; and Sec. of Defense General Mattis, who was on vacation, was apparently blindsided by Trump’s tweet.

“So what I want to know is specifically which generals and military experts signed off on that tweet from the president?” Stephanopoulous asked.

“Well, first of all, the tweet didn’t make policy, the tweet announced policy,” Conway responded. “This had been a conversation, discussions had with generals and other stakeholders for a very long time. The president announced it through the form that he does that cuts out the middle man.”

The ABC News host persisted: “But which ones signed off on it?”

Conway repeated herself and obfuscated, noting that “the Pentagon is a big place. If you find five or 10 people who say, we had no idea, 100 people say we had no idea, that doesn’t mean that everybody there who needed to know. I don’t know when everybody at the Pentagon found out, but the president has made very clear what his policy is.

“The next steps, George, as you know, are to have policy guidance and to put the order out and to work with the stakeholders, obviously General Mattis — Secretary Mattis and others, to implement this new policy,” she said.

Stephanopoulos asked again, which generals signed off on the tweet before Trump sent it out?

“I can’t answer that because I wasn’t in the room when they discussed it with him,” Conway said, verbally wiggling a bit. “And I certainly aren’t on the National Security Council. But I will tell you, having spoken with the president directly about this and having been involved a little bit in the discussions that the president had consulted for quite a while with different stakeholders, including his generals.”

Stephanopoulos did not ask about those stakeholders, which included the Family Research Council, to whom Trump had apparently made a promise about trans servicemembers.

“[Trump] makes decisions based upon what he believes is right, but more importantly, what he committed to, FRC head Tony Perkins told the Christian Broadcast Network after the tweets. Additionally, Trump is “committed, along with the Republican Party platform, that the social engineering that has been in our military that the previous administration foisted upon the military would stop.”

“That’s what he’s doing. He’s only doing what he committed he would do,” Perkins said.

Conway did not put it in those same terms, or identify FRC or any of Trump’s Religious Right advisors, but deflects to President Obama.

“What he says in the tweet is absolutely true, he consults with generals and others about this issue. And, you know, President Obama took late in the game action. I mean, everybody runs around acting like he had a particular policy for all eight years,” she said. “He did not. And you know that. He took late in the game action. And the president is now acting early in his administration because he believes in military readiness and he believes in unit cohesion. This is what he has said. This is what others have said.”

Conway ended it there: “And but the policy guidance and the exact order and the final configuration of the law obviously are forthcoming.”

Sources familiar with the Guidance say the new policy has passed muster with the White House Counsel’s Office but has not yet been sent to Defense Sec. Mattis.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Kansas

Federal judge issues mixed ruling in Kansas Trans case

Fort Riley Middle School, located on the sprawling home to the U.S. Army’s First Division, has policies to protect LGBTQ+ students

Published

on

Geary County Unified School District 475 (Screenshot/WIBW News 13)

TOPEKA – In a ruling last week, a U. S. District Court allowed the Geary County Unified School District 475, (GCUSD 475) to continue its policy of requiring teachers and staff to respect trans students pronouns and additionally not out them to their parents.

However, Judge Holly Teeter sided with the teacher that brought the lawsuit prohibiting the GCUSD 475 from disciplining her for her refusal to follow policies based on her religious beliefs.

Fort Riley Middle School, located on the Ft. Riley post, the sprawling home to the U.S. Army’s First Division, has a long standing set of policies to protect LGBTQ+ students.

A math teacher Pamela Ricard, sued Geary County Schools over LGBTQ anti-discrimination those policies claiming that those policies conflicted with her Christian beliefs. Ricard was represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian legal advocacy group listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group for its anti-LGBTQ+ lying and deceptive propaganda.

Teeter, was nominated by former President Donald Trump and on August 1, 2018, the U.S. Senate confirmed her as United States District Court Judge for the District of Kansas.

Topeka Capital-Journal journalist Jason Tidd reported , Teeter issued a preliminary injunction on Monday blocking the school from disciplining Ricard if she reveals preferred names and pronouns of her transgender students when communicating with their parents.

“The Court relies on Plaintiff’s statements that she does not intend to communicate with a parent for the sole purpose of disclosing a student’s preferred name and pronouns,” Teeter wrote.

Ricard has two transgender students in her class, the judge wrote, neither of whom have authorized the district to disclose their preferred names and pronouns to their parents. While Ricard uses their preferred names in class and avoids pronouns, she has emailed parents using a student’s legal name and biological pronouns, the Topeka Capital-Journal noted.

“Plaintiff believes that addressing students one way at school and a different way when speaking to their parents is dishonest,” the opinion states. “Being dishonest violates her sincere religious beliefs.”

According to the Topeka Capital-Journal, Teeter, ordered the injunction to remain in place until May 18 or until Ricard’s contractual responsibilities to the district end, whichever comes last. Court records state that Ricard is not returning to work next year at Fort Riley Middle School, after teaching in the district since 2005.

Will Rapp, a statewide organizer for the Kansas chapter of GLSEN, told the Capital-Journal:

“Any effort to force teachers to out students to their guardians is a violation of young people’s privacy and can place vulnerable young people in harm’s way,” Rapp said. “When transgender and nonbinary youth feel unsafe at school, they experience negative impacts not only to their health, but to their academic achievement and likelihood of graduating or moving to higher education opportunities.

“Attempts to forcibly out students also jeopardize educators’ ability to foster trust and create the kind of safe school environment that allows young people to grow and learn without fear of harassment or discrimination.”

 

Continue Reading

The White House

WNBA players back petition for Biden to ‘prioritize’ Brittney Griner’s release

Published

on

Russian state TV has released a photo of WNBA star Brittney Griner, who was arrested on drug charges in the country after Russian officials say cannabis oil was found in her luggage. (Screenshot)

WASHINGTON — The Women’s National Basketball Players Association has endorsed a petition that urges the Biden administration to “prioritize” WNBA star Brittney Griner’s release.

“It is imperative that the U.S. government immediately address this human rights issue and do whatever is necessary to return Brittney home quickly and safely,” reads the Change.org petition that Tamryn Spruill, a freelance journalist and author, created.

“The WNBPA and its members proudly join Tamryn Spruill, the creator of this petition, in demanding that lawmakers prioritize Griner’s return,” it continues. “White House and Biden adminsitration, we ask that you take action today—doing whatever is necessary—to bring Brittney Griner home swiftly and safely.”

More than 135,000 people have signed the petition.

Spruill on Saturday in a tweet said the WNBPA, a union that represents WNBA players, partnered with them and Change.org “in demanding that our elected officials work urgently to gain BG’s swift and safe release.”

Griner — a center for the Phoenix Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold medalist who is a lesbian and married to her wife — was taken into custody at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February. Russian officials said customs inspectors found hashish oil in her luggage.

The State Department earlier this month determined Russia “wrongfully detained” Griner. A Russian court on Friday extended her detention for another month.

“The Russian system wrongfully detained Ms. Griner,” then-White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday during her last White House briefing. “We take our responsibility to assist U.S. citizens seriously.  And we will continue to press for fair and transparent treatment for all U.S. citizens when they are subject to legal processes overseas.”
 
“Now, because the State Department recategorized her as wrongfully detained, it means that our Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs — it’s quite a title but a well-deserved one — is going to be overseeing this case and leading the effort,” added Psaki. “Because it’s a deliberative process and we know from experience of bringing other Americans home, we’re just not going to detail what those efforts look like at this point in time.”

Griner faces up to 10 years in prison.

Continue Reading

Wyoming

University of Wyoming graduates boo U.S. Senator for anti-trans remarks

“My reference to the existence of two sexes was intended to highlight the times- times in which the metric of biological sex is under debate”

Published

on

Screenshot/University of Wyoming YouTube

During her speech delivered to the University of Wyoming’s College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education commencement Saturday afternoon, Republican U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis told graduates that “the existence of two sexes, male and female” was a “fundamental scientific truth.” 

The audience’s immediate reaction to her transphobic remarks were loud expressions of disapproval including jeering, boos, and demands she leave the podium.

The senator’s remarks came in the latter third of her twenty-minute address which had primarily focused on the critical need for teachers and in the fields of agriculture and other endeavors she noted were Wyoming hallmarks.

In a statement released by her office Sunday, a spokesperson noted that Lummis was apologizing to those who felt “un-welcomed or disrespected” by the comments.

“My reference to the existence of two sexes was intended to highlight the times in which we find ourselves, times in which the metric of biological sex is under debate with potential implications for the shared Wyoming value of equality,” the statement read.

“I share the fundamental belief that women and men are equal, but also acknowledge that there are biological differences and circumstances in which these differences need to be recognized. That being said, it was never my intention to make anyone feel un-welcomed or disrespected, and for that I apologize. I have appreciated hearing from members of the University of Wyoming community on this issue, and I look forward to continuing this dialogue.” 

Dr. Jenni Tabler, an Assistant Professor in the University of Wyoming’s Sociology Program in the College of Arts and Sciences tweeted, pointing out the graduate’s reactions along with the fact that the UW campus community had recently lost a Trans student to suicide, making the senator’s remarks more hurtful.

The university’s president also issued a statement Sunday expressing support for all members of the UW campus and community:

May 15, 2022

To the UW community:

On Saturday, the university celebrated spring 2022 commencement with a series of events that showcased the best of what makes us special: our students, our staff, our faculty and our ability to openly embrace and debate complex issues. One of our speakers made remarks regarding biological sex that many on campus take issue with. While we respect the right of all to express their views, from students to elected officials, we unequivocally state that UW is an institution that supports and celebrates its diverse communities that collectively make us the wonderful place that we are.

Thank you to the many students and families who celebrated with us this weekend. We welcome the incredible individuality and intellect of all our dynamic and diverse students and never want you to feel otherwise.

Sincerely,

Ed Seidel, President

Senator Cynthia Lummis’ remarks are at the 50:11 time mark:

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular