In a surprise series of tweets Wednesday morning, President Trump reversed Obama-era policy on transgender troops serving in the military—and in the process caught everyone from the Pentagon to Capitol Hill off-guard. Trump tweeted that the “United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military” ignoring the fact that thousands already do so honorably. Under review was the Pentagon’s policy for new recruits, as well as the cost for medical treatments. Trump didn’t specify what will happen to those thousands of servicemembers, and the Pentagon wasn’t prepared to provide guidance on what he meant. Some White House aides were also caught off guard by Trump’s missive, and Capitol Hill was left completely in the dark—eliciting sharp barbs from even Republican lawmakers. “The President’s tweet this morning regarding transgender Americans in the military is yet another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter,” Sen. John McCain said in a statement. But the chaos was part of what Trump was trying to accomplish.
Trump’s angry response to the Russia investigation is showing no limits, as Trump’s assault on his own Attorney General is continued and expanded to the acting director of the FBI. Trump makes more promises to his supporters in Ohio. And the Senate is voting on a range of healthcare options after Tuesday’s motion to proceed—but the votes still don’t appear to be there for the GOP.
Here are your must reads:
Trump Administration to Bar Transgender Individuals From Serving in U.S. Military
The president made the announcement in a series of tweets [Wall Street Journal]
These Ohio Voters Made Trump President.
They’re Still With Him [TIME]
The Standoff Between Trump and Sessions Escalates
Sessions isn’t taking Trump’s hint [Washington Post]
At Ohio Rally, Trump Keeps Making Campaign Promises
The president revels in campaign atmosphere in Youngstown, where health care was only part of the message [Politico]
Senate Votes Down Broad Obamacare Repeal
Now to Plan C [New York Times]
“I told you before, I’m very disappointed with the Attorney General, but we will see what happens. Time will tell. Time will tell.” — President Trump at a Tuesday press conference
“Now here’s what I do. I’d ask whether or not you someday think I will be on Mount Rushmore. But here’s the problem, if I did it joking, totally joking, having fun, the fake news media will say ‘he believes he should be on Mount Rushmore.’ So I won’t say it. Okay? I won’t say it.” — Trump at a campaign rally Tuesday
Bits and Bites
Mike Pence Breaks Tie in Senate to Begin Health Care Debate [Associated Press]
Trump Finds Reason for the U.S. to Remain in Afghanistan: Minerals [New York Times]
New Justice Department Rules Crack Down on Sanctuary Cities [Associated Press]
Senate Judiciary Committee withdraws subpoena for Manafort [Associated Press]
Senators on hot mic: Trump is ‘crazy,’ ‘I’m worried’ [Washington Post]