Speed Reads

strategy

The Trump administration apparently sees the transgender military ban as a ploy to win Rust Belt states in 2018

On Wednesday, President Trump announced a ban on all transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military "in any capacity." Trump said he made the decision because the military "cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."

However, Axios' Jonathan Swan reported Wednesday that a Trump administration official offered a very different reason for the ban: the 2018 midterms. "This forces Democrats in Rust Belt states like Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin to take complete ownership of this issue," the unnamed official told Swan. "How will the blue-collar voters in these states respond when senators up for re-election in 2018 ... are forced to make their opposition to this a key plank of their campaigns?"

A Rand Corp. study commissioned by the Defense Department last year concluded that allowing transgender individuals to serve in the military would have "minimal impact" on health-care costs, CNN noted, "largely because there are so few in the military's 1.3 million-member force." The study estimated the cost would range from $2.4 million to $8.4 million, which the study authors said constituted an "exceedingly small proportion" of the military's total health-care costs. Kimberly Alters