President Donald Trump’s announcement on Wednesday morning to “not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military” seems to have come as a shock to defence officials contacted by Business Insider and other outlets.
Although Trump announced he had consulted with his top military personnel — apparently including Secretary of Defence James Mattis — on the decision, other Pentagon officials seemed out of the loop.
“The tweet was the first we heard about it,” a defence official told the Wall Street Journal.
CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr similarly reported that Pentagon officials were initially unaware of the ban.
Asked directly for a statement, a Pentagon spokesperson bounced Business Insider back to the White House on all questions about the ban.
“We refer all questions about the President’s statements to the White House. We will continue to work closely with the White House to address the new guidance provided by the Commander-in-Chief on transgender individuals serving the military. We will provide revised guidance to the Department in the near future,” the statement read.