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White House aide on transgender ban: ‘Military is not a microcosm of civilian society’

White House aide Sebastian Gorka said Friday in a BBC interview that the president decided to ban transgender individuals from serving in the military “out of the warmth of his consideration for this population.”

“The military is not a microcosm of civilian society. They are not there to reflect America. They are there to kill people and blow stuff up,” Gorka told BBC Radio 4. “They are not there to be socially engineered.”

Gorka’s defense of Trump’s policy shift is the most detail the White House has provided regarding Trump’s surprise decision this week to announce the change.

Gorka went on to connect the transgender community to high suicide rates and said the president does not want to “force” such individuals “into the hierarchical military environment.”

“We want people who are transgendered to live happy lives, but we want unit cohesion and we want combat effectiveness,” Gorka continued. “There are leading studies from the medical establishment, for example, that state that the transgender community has a 40 percent suicide attempt rate. That is a tragedy.”

“We need to help those people,” he said. “We don’t need to try and force them into the hierarchical military environment where they are under the utmost pressure to kill or be killed, and that is why the president is doing this out of the warmth of his consideration for this population.”

A majority of Americans thinks transgender people should be allowed to serve in the military, according to a Reuters poll released Friday.

The poll found that 58 percent of adults think transgender people should be able to serve in the armed forces, while 27 percent said they shouldn’t.

A large number of Republicans also broke with the president regarding the ban, with many saying anyone medically fit should be allowed to serve in the military.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford said the military’s transgender policy won’t actively change until Trump sends specific directions to the Pentagon.

The White House has not clarified how the ban will be implemented or how it will apply to hundreds of transgender individuals already serving in the armed forces.

Trump tweeted on Wednesday that “after consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military. 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.”

 Gorka authored “Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War” in 2016.

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