‘They take massive amounts of drugs’: Trump says ban on trans people in the military is due to the medication and cost of reassignment surgery – but is surprised to learn military spends more on Viagra
- President Trump said trans people were banned due to hormone therapy drugs
- He said service personnel were not allowed to ‘take an aspirin’ due to strict rules
- Trump also cited the cost of gender reassignment surgery as being behind ban
- Interviewer Piers Morgan told Trump US military spends more money on Viagra
Donald Trump has said transgender people were banned from serving in the US military because of the ‘massive amounts of drugs’ they have to take and the cost of surgery.
The president said that as there are strict rules on service personnel taking medication, trans people would fail drugs tests due to testosterone being in their system.
He made the comments today during an interview on Good Morning Britain with Piers Morgan as Trump begins his third and final day of his State visit to the UK.
Trump also cited the cost of the gender reassignment operation, but when Morgan told him the military spends more on giving soldiers Viagra, the president replied, ‘I didn’t know they did that’.
A recent Military Times study found that the Department of Defense spends $41.6 million a year on just Viagra.
The figure is five times what it would spend on transgender troops’ medical care, according to the Washington Post.
President Trump said the ban on trans people serving in the military was due to the cost of gender reassignment operations and the amount of drugs need for the therapy
Trump holding an LGBT flag during his campaign to be a Republican presidential nominee at University of Northern Colorado in 2016
A policy of excluding trans people from the US military came into effect in April after lengthy federal court battles and injunctions.
Under Barack Obama, the then-Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in June 2016 lifted the Pentagon’s ban on transgender people serving openly in the armed forces and said the Pentagon will cover medical costs for uniformed personnel who transition.
But by June 2017, Trump tweeted that transgender people would not be allowed ‘to serve in any capacity in the US Military’ due to medical costs and the ‘disruption’ caused.
The current version of the ban prohibits new recruits from transitioning and also allows the military to discharge those currently serving if they do not present as their birth gender.
Today’s interview began with Morgan asking Trump about a tweet he posted during Pride Month supporting the LGBT community.
Morgan began by asking: ‘This week you tweeted your support for the LGBT community around the world where they are being persecuted or excluded,
Trump interjected: ‘It’s terrible.’
During the interview with Piers Morgan Trump was told the US military spends more on Viagra than gender reassignment therapy medication
Last week Trump tweeted his support for LGBT people around the work. Morgan asked him why he did not extend this support to US military personnel
Trump has been on a three-day visit to the UK where he had a State Banquet with the Queen. He is pictured alongside Queen Elizabeth II, First Lady Melania Trump (center), Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (second right) and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
Morgan continued: ‘Which promoted the obvious question, if you feel that protective of the LGBT community, why did you feel the need to ban transgender people from serving in the US military?
Trump that the reason was due to the amount of hormone replacement drugs needed before and after a gender reassignment operation.
He said: ‘Because they take massive amounts of drugs, they have to. And also, you’re not allowed to take drugs, you know in the military you’re not allowed to take any drugs, you can’t take an aspirin.
‘And they have to after the operation, they have to, they have not choice, they have to. And you would have to break rules and regulations in order to have that.’
In the past Trump has said the cost of drugs taken by transgender people was one of the main reasons for excluding them from service.
But Morgan said the US military spends more money on given soldiers sexual enhancement medication such as Viagra, than it does on gender reassignment therapy.
He said: ‘But the cost of the medication is minuscule, compared to the overall budget, right? The US military spends a lot more money for example on giving Viagra to service men and women, well men.
Trump replied with a smirk that he did not know about that expenditure, adding: ‘I didn’t know they did that.’
Trump said trans people could not serve in the military as they would fail strict drug testing regulations due to gender reassignment therapy medication
At the the end of the interview Morgan presented the president with a replica Winston Churchill hat
Trump Melania Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, pose for a photograph ahead of a dinner at Winfield House last night
Morgan continued: ‘So it just seems to me an unnecessary thing for a guy who wants to be supportive of LGBT rights and the community around the world that you’ve taken this action.’
The president then said the cost of the operation and the recovery period was also a reason.
He replied: ‘Well it is what it is, look, also people were going in and asking for the operation and the operation is $200,000 and $250,000 and getting the operation and the recovery period is long and they have to take large amounts of drugs after that, for whatever reason, but large amounts.
‘And that’s not the way it is, and you can’t do that. So I said yeah, when it came to time to make a decision on that and because of the drugs and also because of the cost of the operation.’
Morgan then raised the issue of the bravery awards many transgender service personnel received that would not be lost to the US forces.
He asked: ‘Some transgender people in the US military have won serious gallantry awards, what do you feel about them?
Trump responded: ‘Well I’m proud of them, I think it’s great, but you have to have a standard and you have to stick to that standard.
‘And we have a great military and I want to keep it that way and maybe they’d be phenomenal, I think they probably would be, but again you have very strict rules and regulations on drugs and prescription drugs and all of these different things and they blow it out of the water.’
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