Congressman Jack Bergman is standing behind President Trump’s call for a ban on transgender individuals in the United State military.
Earlier this month, Trump tweeted the ban against any transgender individuals from serving in the military in any capacity, resulting in an immediate uproar from LGBT and civil rights groups.
Bergman, a 40-year veteran of the Marines, now representing Michigan’s 1st Congressional District, says it was the right thing to do.
Bergman said, “Number one—and I’ll say this for everybody in the United States to hear, especially everyone who has served in the United States military—the United States military is not somebody’s social science experiment.”
Bergman says the issue comes down to whether a transgender soldier receiving treatment can be counted on for deployment.
“We have an all-recruited force, not a draft like when I was that age eligible, we were classified anywhere from 1A in draft classification, down to 4F, and anything in between,” Bergman continued. “There is a commission right now that has been chartered, it was under the last administration—they’re just starting their work, to take a look at do we even need a selected service system? And if we do, what are the qualifications for service? When you talk about a young man or woman joining the United States military, they sign an eight year contract, and depending on the contract they sign, it’s probably going to be a maximum of four to five years at most of active duty. We need to make sure that young man or woman who joins and successfully completes boot camp is deployable during that time. So, whatever the issue is, if there is anything that is going on that makes them not deployable for a long period of time, then they’re not of use to their unit.”
He added, “If you go through the therapy and the treatment and all of those types of things, that will take you out of the loop for probably 12 to 18 months.”
Bergman recently voted against a proposal that would’ve prohibited the military from paying for gender reassignment medical care.
He says he supports the intent of the amendment, but said Congress should leave the issue up to the Secretary of Defense.
He issued the following statement on his Facebook page to explain his vote:
“I voted against an amendment last week offered by Rep. Vicki Hartzler, and I want to explain the background and share my thoughts since a lot of bad information is swirling around. As a Veteran with forty years of service to our country, I unequivocally disagree with the policies implemented by President Obama regarding transgender individuals and the military. I am glad that my fellow USMC Vet and friend Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has already started to undo those policies. I believe President Trump and his Administration can and will finish the full reversal of that policy, without the need for Congress to get involved. President Trump and Secretary Mattis urged Congress not to pursue this amendment in the first place, and I trust that they will make sure that the Department of Defense is NOT funding any sort of medical procedures for transgender people in the military. As we work to rebuild our nation’s defense after years of bad policy, we need to work closely with Secretary Mattis on the details going forward. The amendment would’ve damaged what Secretary Mattis and President Trump are already doing on this topic, and that’s why I was a “no” vote.”