Speaking at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his reappointment to the chairmanship after two years of service, Gen. Joseph Dunford revealed the advice he said he had privately provided to the administration.
In his tweets, Trump said he had made a decision to bar transgender troops because the military "cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail".
Dunford told the committee, "I would say that I believe any individual who meets the physical and mental standards and is worldwide deployable and is now serving should be afforded the opportunity to serve".
Under questioning by Gillibrand, Dunford said he had not yet met with transgender service members to discuss the president's ban but added, "I would certainly do that". Joseph Dunford told a Senate committee today that he believes transgender troops should be able to continue serving, if they meet standards.
On Tuesday, Dunford said he agreed with Gillibrand when she assessed that many transgender servicemembers had served with "honor and valor" and did not deserve to be removed from service simply for identifying themselves as transgender.
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"If reappointed, can you promise currently-serving transgender individuals who have followed department policy and meet every requirement, as you just said - as to them, that they will not be separated from the armed services based exclusively on their gender identity?". President Barack Obama had tapped Dunford for the job.
On Monday, North Korea's foreign minister accused President Donald Trump of declaring war on his country by recently tweeting the North's leader Kim Jong-un and his regime "won't be around much longer". "What I have just articulated is the advice I have provided in private and I just provided in public".
Mattis said he would establish a panel of experts to determine how to implement Trump's order and that now serving transgender troops would not be separated from the military while that study is ongoing.
Trump went after trans soldiers first with a tweet in late July, which was then followed up by a formal guidance sent to the Pentagon last month, saying the Pentagon should submit final plans to the White House on implementation of the transgender ban by February 21. The Defense Department has declined to release specific information about how many troops are now receiving medical treatment - such as hormone therapy or gender-reassignment surgery - for gender dysphoria.
The White House changed policy matters related to transgender troops in July. "I will fix the mess", said Trump.