Donald Trump’s bid to keep transgender troops from serving in the military has found another opponent — an Asian American Purple Heart veteran who now serves as the United States Senator for Illinois.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Il.), who lost both her legs in 2004 after a Black Hawk helicopter she was piloting in Iraq was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade, recently made a plea to members of Congress to block the proposal.
In a statement on Thursday, the retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel said, “When I was bleeding to death in my Black Hawk helicopter after I was shot down, I didn’t care if the American troops risking their lives to help save me were gay, straight, transgender, black, white or brown. All that mattered was they didn’t leave me behind.”
According to the Hill, the senator reiterated a similar message she issued back in July when the ban was first announced. She called the ban “sickening” after reports emerged how Trump had dodged the draft during the Vietnam War.
In order to stop the implementation of the ban, Duckworth has urged members of Congress to pass legislation against it.
“If the President enacts this ban, which would harm our military readiness, the Democratic and Republican Members of Congress who oppose this discrimination must enact legislation that prevents it from taking effect,” she said.
Duckworth expressed that whoever is fit to serve should not be prevented from doing so.
“Anything else is not just discriminatory, it is disruptive to our military, and it is counterproductive to our national security,” she said.
Trump first announced the ban on Twitter in July, to the shock of legislators and military officials.
“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US Military,” Trump tweeted. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
Many politicians from both parties have quickly criticized the proposal in public.
Sen. John McCain (R-Az), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, had earlier called Trump’s policy pronouncement as “unclear”, reported Vox.
“We should all be guided by the principle that any American who wants to serve our country and is able to meet the standards should have the opportunity to do so — and should be treated as the patriots they are,” he said.
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Ia), a veteran and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, shared a similar view on the matter: “Americans who are qualified and can meet the standards to serve in the military should be afforded that opportunity.”