By Jeremy Diamond
President Donald Trump on Friday directed the military not to move forward with an Obama-era plan that would have allowed transgender individuals to be recruited into the armed forces, following through on his intentions announced a month earlier to ban transgender people from serving.
The presidential memorandum also bans the Department of Defense from using its resources to provide medical treatment regimens for transgender individuals currently serving in the military.
Trump also directed the departments of Defense and Homeland Security "to determine how to address transgender individuals currently serving based on military effectiveness and lethality, unitary cohesion, budgetary constraints, applicable law, and all factors that may be relevant," the White House official said.
The White House official who briefed reporters on the memo on Friday evening declined to say whether current transgender troops would be allowed to remain in the military under those policy guidelines.
The official signaled that the administration was returning to the military's pre-2016 policy under which no transgender individuals were allowed to serve openly in the armed forces,but said Trump was giving the secretaries of defense and homeland security leeway to determine the policy on currently serving transgender troops.
The guidance comes a month after Trump said on Twitter that he would reinstate a ban on transgender troops, an announcement that took many in the military's leadership -- including the joint chiefs of staff -- by surprise.
"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," Trump said in a series of tweets.
"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."
"Thank you," he added.