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Trump directs Pentagon to implement ban on transgender recruits, but the fate of current service members is still to be determined

. It was not immediately implemented by the military, which said it would wait for further guidance from the White House.

Trump’s initial announcement from Democrats and Republicans, many of whom said it was discriminatory toward transgender people willing to volunteer to serve their country. 

A senior administration official defended the president’s actions in a call with reporters on Friday, saying that the decision was made based on national security concerns. 

“The basis for this directive is very much our national security needs and things like military readiness, effectiveness, lethality, military cohesion,” said the official, who spoke on a condition of anonymity to discuss the details of the policy.

The prohibition on funding sex-reassignment surgeries will go into effect on March 23, 2018, with an exception for individuals currently undergoing the procedures.

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