Georgia Congressman Buddy Carter showed his support for a ban on transgender troops in the U.S. military during a town hall meeting Wednesday night in Brunswick.
The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel reports that Carter, a Republican in his second term representing Georgia’s 1st Congressional District, talked over boos from the crowd as he told them, “I don’t want ’em serving in the military. I’m sorry.” The district covers the coastal area of the Sea Islands and much of the southeastern portion of the state.
Talking over boos, Rep. Buddy Carter says he agrees w Trump's trans military ban. "I don't want 'em serving in the military. I'm sorry." pic.twitter.com/Os6BYc1SLk
Colton Griffin, chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia’s LGBTQ Caucus, issued a statement in response to Congressman Carter’s comments, saying, “Buddy Carter’s remarks are reprehensible. An estimated 4,000 transgender Americans serve in our armed forces with honor. Carter’s comments are particularly appalling as they came out of the mouth of someone who has never worn the uniform. If Buddy Carter and Donald Trump get their way, thousands of military personnel will be shoved back in the closet, placing our national security at risk. At this moment, these service members are deployed around the globe protecting Americans—including Buddy Carter. The DPG stands with those fighting for our right to live freely, and champion their right to serve freely.”
The tweets were praised by anti-LGBT groups, including the Family Research Council, National Organization for Marriage and the Ku Klux Klan. A bipartisan group of senators nationwide, including Sens. Kamala Harris (D-California), Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Richard Shelby (R-Alabama), spoke out against Trump’s remarks.
Karen Handel, the newly elected Republican in Georgia’s 6th District, told the Marietta Daily Journal that “the military is not going to act on a 40-character tweet.”
“I think you have to see what the actual directive is going to be,” she said. “What I will say is this: I do not think that the military should be required to pay for the transition surgery. That is an elective.”
Military commanders issued statements saying in essence that they were ignoring Trump’s comments until official guidance was issued to the Pentagon. The White House did so on August 4. Approved by Trump, the new policy was expected to be delivered into the hands of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who has been quiet on the issue with approximately 15,000 trans service members under his command.
After his review, Mattis is expected to order a deliberate implementation by the Pentagon, which could take a period of time.