PHOENIX (KSAZ) - President Donald Trump made a surprise announcement on Twitter Wednesday, saying he will ban transgender individuals from serving in the United States Armed Forces.
(Can't see the tweets? Are the tweets deleted? Click here for the tweets, in image format)
After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
....Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
....victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
Trump said he made the decision, after consulting with "generals and military experts".
Transgender service members have been able to serve openly in the military since 2016, when former Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the ban.
Locally, Marsha Marie Clarke, who served 13 years in the United States Marine Corps and proudly wears a "USMC" tattoo on her arm, believes Trump has made a bad decision.
"When the cry for patriots is made, there is never an asterisk put next to it," said Clarke. "I interviewed Marine Corps drill instructors as recently as a month ago. Their concern is, 'Will you complete the training?' They could care less. This outright discrimination is based on inconsistent information, and a lack of facts."
Meanwhile, Jeremy Helfgot, a spokesperson for Phoenix Pride, said he was "shocked and frankly appalled" by the decision.
"We've moved passed this issue," said Helfgot. "We have openly transgender men and women serving faithfully throughout the U.S. Armed Forces."
Helfgot said uncertainty is also a big concern.
"It's a tweet, it's not an actual piece of policy so is the signaling a real policy change? Or is this simply the president trying to do something hateful?" said Helfgot.
Meanwhile, Steve Kilar with the Arizona office of the American Civil Liberties Union said Trump's decision is far from a done deal.
"From our point of view, what we really want people to understand is Trump's tweets are not self-executing in this situation," said Kilar. "If they change regulations saying transgendered people cannot serve in the military, the ACLU is ready to take them to court on that."
Arizona's Republican Party, however, is solidly behind Trump.
"I know when the Commander-In-Chief makes a decision, he listens to senior advisors and generals, and when he did that, we stand behind the President, because it was probably the right decision," said Matthew Kenney, the Executive Director of the Arizona Republican Party. Kenney is a former Army Ranger.
Some veterans also support Trump's statements.
"I'm with him," said one veteran, who only wanted to be identified as "Shaun". "We are so limited on what we can do with the little money we have for equipment that we need, weapons. All logistics."
Figures from a recent estimate shows out of 1.3 million people on active duty, some 15,000 people are transgender. Trump's Twitter announcement came on the anniversary of President Harry Truman's announcement that he has created the "President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services", which ultimately led to the end of racial discrimination in the Armed Forces.