Trump’s Homeland Security candidate quits over bigoted military ban
Once again, the White House is scaring off potential employees with its radical, unprofessional behavior.
Donald Trump’s impulsive move to ban transgender people from the U.S. military is having far-reaching repercussions.
In an email, John Fluharty, a former executive director of the Delaware Republican Party, notified the Department of Homeland Security that he was withdrawing his name from consideration for the post of assistant secretary of partnership and engagement at the department.
Fluharty wrote, “I am a strong advocate for diversity, both in the Republican Party and in government,” and stressed that Trump’s ban “runs counter to my deeply held beliefs, and it would be impossible for me to commit to serving the Administration knowing that I would be working against those values.”
The loss is the latest example of the Trump administration having trouble recruiting top candidates, based in part on the White House’s radical policies, as well as its unprofessional behavior.
When former White House communications director Mike Dubke left his position eight weeks ago, BuzzFeed interviewed 20 Republican communications operatives about the post. None of them said they would entertain accepting what’s normally considered to be a coveted administration job. “You’re going to come out of the administration with your reputation in tatters,” said one.
Fluharty’s public withdrawal also represents the latest bout of blowback for the proposed transgender ban, which has been widely criticized. In fact, it’s hard to recall the last time a high-profile White House initiative like this received such a stinging, bipartisan trashing.
Note that just this month, 27 Republican House members sided with Democrats to vote down an attempt to ban the military from funding any medical treatment related to gender transition.
Trump’s announcement completely blindsided member of Congress as well as senior Pentagon officials, such as Defense Secretary James Mattis. “People close to the defense secretary said he was appalled that Mr. Trump chose to unveil his decision in tweets,” The New York Times reported.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joe Dunford, quickly announced “There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance.” Adding, “In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect.”
Trump’s proposed initiative would overturn a policy President Barack Obama instituted last year allowing transgender military personnel to serve openly and seek related medical care. Mattis had previously announced he was delaying enactment of that plan and wanted six more months to study the issue.
Trump insisted transgender personnel are costly and inhibit military readiness. But a 2016 Rand Corp. study commission by the Defense Department concluded that letting transgender people serve openly would have a “minimal impact” on readiness and health care costs.