In what was ostensibly an unprecedented overture from a Republican presidential candidate to the LGBT community, Donald Trump tweeted this just over a year ago, 5 months before millions of Americans went to cast their vote for him:
Fast forward to 2017, and Trump has a decidedly different message to the community he swore to protect:
Trump is almost certainly lying about the advice of his "Generals" and "military experts", and is also lying about the prohibitive cost of keeping transgendered people in the military. Given the Pentagon spends 10 times as much money on erectile dysfunction medication as it would on medical expenses related to being transgender, it is hard to envision any reasonable expert viewing it as a serious expenditure problem. As the Huff Post reported, "Trump claims he made the move after consulting with military experts, despite the Pentagon lifting the ban on transgender service members in 2016 after an exhaustive review of its military readiness policies." This means Trump has almost certainly consulted with political strategists instead (read Steve Bannon), who have advised him to choose a minority group to vilify in order to distract the public from the ongoing FBI investigation into his ties to Russia and attempts to obstruct justice.
We saw this playbook used in 2004 when Karl Rove figured out that creating a fictional gay invasion of the country would inspire evangelical Christians to vote against John Kerry by promising them a constitutional marriage amendment that would never happen. It worked a treat, and evangelicals came out in droves to vote against the gays and give George W. Bush a second disastrous term as president.
The Trump people understand that the key to keeping him in power is the support of his base. By going after gays/blacks/Mexicans/transgendered people etc, he stores up credit with the people who voted for him and are convinced of an apocalyptic culture war threatening to destroy their lives. They will forgive literally anything -- collusion with a foreign government, rank incompetence and daily lying as long as Trump is bashing up on queers and latte sipping liberals. The ban on LGBT people in the military won't achieve anything for the actual military -- it just makes it a more threatening place for those in the closet, and a worse place to work. The Pentagon already concluded there was no reason to ban LGBT people from serving, so reversing the ban is nothing more than a cruel political tactic used to make America more divided again.
As a side note, does anyone on the left seriously still believe that Hillary Clinton would have been "just as bad"? Oh yes, her emails...
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