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Democrats demand proof that Trump consulted with Pentagon on trans military ban

Donald Trump James Mattis
President Donald J. Trump departs from the Pentagon alongside Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Jan. 27, 2017, in Washington, D.C.Photo: DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jette Carr

Over 100 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives want proof that President Donald Trump consulted with the Pentagon before issuing his ban on transgender soldiers in the military.

The demand comes in the form of a letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis, requesting proof of the President’s claim that he was acting in the interests of the military on the advice of its leaders.

Trump claimed to have consulted with “my Generals and military experts” in one of the tweets that started the chaos that would soon follow.

Trump said in a news conference in August that he believed he was “doing the military a great favor” on a “very complicated issue.”

He went on to sign a memo preventing transgender people from enlisting and eliminating funding for transition related healthcare costs. It also gave Mattis, who was on vacation at the time of Trump’s announcement, just six months to make a decision on transgender soldiers who are already in the military.

A number of military leaders have come out in opposition to the ban, to one extent or another. No one has yet come out and identified themselves as having advised Trump in favor of it, and he has offered no specifics.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, the Pentagon’s top military official, recently told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee he advised the president to allow all qualified troops to serve.

“If senior military or Department of Defense personnel asked that the president ban transgender individuals from military service, we request access to any letters, e-mails, telephone transcripts, meeting logs and minutes, or other materials that document such requests,” the letter reads.

“If the Department has records of any other discussions that might have justified the president’s claim, we request to see those materials, as well. We seek access to these materials in order to determine whether the president, his national security team, and military leaders are actively coordinating policy with one another, or whether the president’s transgender ban announcement reflected a breakdown in communication.”

“We seek information to discover the proof of where and when the Pentagon advised the President that this was the best idea for our country,” said Congressman Donald McEachin, who led the effort. “If there is proof then we can evaluate that, if there is no proof then the President lied to the American people once again.”

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