When John McCain surprisingly voted against repealing and replacing Obamacare, he struck a major blow to Trump’s agenda. Despite the Arizona Republican Senator’s reputation as a maverick, McCain has generally been a fairly consistent supporter of the GOP’s policies and agenda. However, in recent weeks, McCain seems to have regained a bit of his maverick streak, as it has been reported that he is working on a bill which would undo Trump’s ban on transgender individuals serving in the military.
The details of McCain’s amendment have not been revealed, but the fact that it is in the works isn’t too surprising. While the ban was likely popular among Trump’s socially-conservative base, it drew backlash from members of both parties. In August, McCain himself spoke out against the proposed policy, calling it a “step in the wrong direction.”
‘It would be a step in the wrong direction to force currently serving transgender individuals to leave the military solely on the basis of their gender identity rather than medical and readiness standards that should always be at the heart of Department of Defense personnel policy.’
Many people feel that a policy banning people from service for arbitrary reasons that have nothing to do with their effectiveness on the battlefield weakens the U.S. military. Many of those who spoke out against the ban were military veterans themselves, who likely found it insulting that a man who has never served was trying to limit those who are willing to risk their lives for their country.
As of right now, Trump has not commented on the amendment. However, assuming the bill passes, there is little Trump can do to stop it. Theoretically, he could veto it, but as it is an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which sets the budget for the military, it is highly unlikely that Trump would veto such an important bill over his opposition to a single amendment. Even if Trump were to veto it, which probably wouldn’t play well with his base, it is likely that Congress would come together and override his veto.
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