The decade's most triggering comedy
Four Republican House lawmakers responded forcefully on Friday to a reporter who asked how transgender surgeries for members of the U.S. military would affect battle readiness.
The lawmakers gave a press briefing about the annual Defense Department budget, which includes amendments blocking the military for paying for abortion-related expenses as well as transgender hormone treatments and surgeries.
The House narrowly passed the defense budget on Friday.
“Can you elaborate a little bit on how transgender reassignment surgery might impede battlefield readiness?” a reporter asked.
Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), a combat veteran and retired Army brigadier general, responded that the military is about the “needs of the nation” over the desires of individuals.
A reporter asks members of the House Freedom Caucus:
"Can you elaborate a little bit on how transgender reassignment surgery might influence battle readiness?"
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) July 14, 2023
“There are many people who want to serve in many capacities who are unable to. If you’re allergic to bee stings, if you have Type 1 diabetes, though you might want to serve, you cannot. If you want to fly an F-16 but can’t correct your vision appropriately, you cannot fly an F-16 or anything else,” Perry said. “What the military is about is what the needs of the nation are from a national security standpoint. When they marry up with your desires, that’s an awesome and great circumstance, but when they don’t, the needs of the nation come first.”
“You have to look at it as, ‘How does this enhance readiness and lethality?'” Perry added. “If it does not enhance readiness and lethality, it does not belong.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) then took the podium and said that for every dollar the military spends on transgender surgeries, it has to spend four more dollars on the psychological care that accompanies the surgeries.
“So why we would engage in an activity that causes an even accelerated cost structure around psych is very strange to me, and I’m very grateful we got amendments to stop paying for those surgeries,” Gaetz said.
Gaetz said transgender medical treatments were also pulling money from the Exceptional Family Member Program, which he said was supposed to be for military family members with a “unique heart ailment” or other serious issues.
“That pot of money was getting robbed for people to go get gender blockers and embrace radical gender theory,” Gaetz said.
Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) responded as well.
“The Left is perfectly willing to take that child of a military veteran who has Down syndrome, who has chronic illnesses, they’re perfectly willing to assign [those] dollars to transgender surgery,” Norman said.
Norman added that he thinks a trans-identifying person should not be on a battlefield in the first place.
“I’m sorry, first of all, you don’t want people in a battlefield who are trying to decide if they’re a man or a woman,” Norman said. “Decide that before you go in.”
Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX), a 25-year Navy physician who served in the White House, said the military in general does not pay for elective procedures, and gender surgeries and hormone treatments “clearly fit into that category.”
Jackson added that between hormone treatments and surgeries, medical gender transitions can take over a year.
“During this entire time, these individuals are not deployable, so someone else is going to do a second deployment in their place during this process. That’s not fair to the other members of the military,” Jackson said.
The defense budget now goes to the Democrat-controlled Senate, which is working on its own version of the budget.