Home / World / Sanders threatens to halt briefing as transgender troop ban dominates – Politico

Sanders threatens to halt briefing as transgender troop ban dominates – Politico

Updated

President Donald Trump’s announcement that he would ban transgender Americans from serving in the military dominated the White House press briefing on Wednesday, with spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders at one point threatening to end the on-camera session if reporters didn’t ask about other topics.

The surprise announcement on Twitter of the transgender service member ban — which so far has included no detail about how it would be implemented — prompted an immediate outcry from gay rights activists and earned a rebuke from several Republican lawmakers, too.

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Sanders described the move, which reverses a policy by President Barack Obama, as a “military decision” but gave few details.

“If those are the only questions we have, I’m going to call it a day,” Sanders said at one point, adding that she’d take questions on other topics. A few reporters asked about the ban anyway.

Here are the highlights of the briefing.

• Sanders defended the transgender troop decision, saying it was about “military readiness.”

“The president has expressed concerns since this Obama policy came into effect,” Sanders said. “But he’s also voiced that this is a very expensive and disruptive policy, and based on consultation that he’s had with his national security team, came to the conclusion that it erodes military readiness and unit cohesion made the decision based on that.”

The White House and Department of Defense will move to implement the decision lawfully, she said.

• She described the move as a “military decision,” despite the fact that Pentagon officials were referring reporters to the White House about it earlier Wednesday.

She said Trump decided on Tuesday to make the change and informed Defense Secretary James Mattis after that.

Sanders also denied that the president had betrayed his earlier commitment to fight for the transgender community.

• Trump still wants Jeff Sessions in his job, at least for now, Sanders said, even though the president keeps complaining about his attorney general.

“You can be disappointed in someone but still want them to continue to do their job,” Sanders said. “And that’s where they are.”

Sessions was at the White House on Wednesday but did not meet with Trump, Sanders said.

• Trump will donate this quarter’s salary to the Education Department.

Sanders told reporters that Trump, who has pledged to give away his $400,000 annual salary, will donate $100,000 from this quarter to the Department of Education.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made an appearance to thank Trump for the gift, which she said would go toward a science, technology and math program.

Source: world

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