WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s announcement that he would ban transgender individuals from serving in the military. There are an estimated 15,000 transgender individuals currently serving on active duty or in the Guard or Reserve forces.

“The thousands of transgender Americans serving in our military are heroes – just as all of our service members are – who risk their lives to keep us safe. Forbidding these brave Americans to serve our country flies in the face of the values the United States was built upon. It also undermines our national security and makes our military forces weaker. Our military should be recruiting the best and brightest, regardless of gender identity.

“This decision is particularly galling coming from a President who actively avoided military service through five draft deferments and believes that the word ‘sacrifice’ means trying to make money. Mr. President, trans military members have sacrificed far more than you ever have – or will.”

In the coming days, Booker will introduce legislation to reverse this ban and uphold the Transgender Service Member Policy established last year.

Last month, Senator Booker sent a letter to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis urging the Defense Department to implement the Transgender Service Member Policy – which was set to take effect on July 1, 2017 – on time and as expected. He has not received a response to his letter.