'Discrimination, plain and simple': Senators react to Trump ban on transgender people in the military

Democrats and several Republicans reacted with a mixture of dismay and outrage to President Donald Trump's announcement on Wednesday that transgender people will no longer be allowed to serve in the US military.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona criticized Trump for making the announcement via Twitter, where it immediately prompted confusion and backlash.

The Pentagon has already decided to allow active duty transgender individuals to continue serving, and is conducting a study on the medical obligations and impact allowing transgender people to serve will have, he said in a statement.

Senators' reactions to Trump's ban on transgender people in the military:

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Senators react to ban on transgender people in the military
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Senators react to ban on transgender people in the military

"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," McCain said.

(Photo credit BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi noted in a statement that the date of Trump's announcement coincided with the date President Harry Truman desegregated the military in 1948.

"Sixty-nine years later, President Trump has chosen this day to unleash a vile and hateful agenda that will blindside thousands of patriotic Americans already serving with honor and bravery," Pelosi said. "This disgusting ban will weaken our military and the nation it defends."

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama was first told of Trump's announcement during a CNN interview, responding that he wanted to read the policy's wording but was sure the Senate will hold hearings on the matter. "You ought to treat everybody fairly and you ought to give everybody a chance to serve," he said.

(Photo by Zach Gibson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, an Iraq War veteran who lost her legs in combat, called the ban "discriminatory and counterproductive to our national security."

(Photo by Zach Gibson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

"When my Black Hawk helicopter was shot down in Iraq, I didn't care if the American troops risking their lives to help save me were gay, straight, transgender or anything else. All that mattered was they didn't leave me behind," Duckworth said in a statement. "If you are willing to risk your life for our country and you can do the job, you should be able to serve — no matter your gender identity, sexual orientation, or race."

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

When Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah was asked whether he stood with the state's transgender community, Hatch responded "Yes" on Twitter, then released a longer statement saying "I don't think we should be discriminating against anyone."

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown said in a statement the military "should not turn away anyone who is willing and able to serve this country and help keep Americans safe."

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The ban is "discrimination, plain and simple," Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California tweeted.

Source: Twitter

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey wrote that Trump is "wrong" and transgender service members are "heroes like anyone else risking their lives to defend us."

Source: Twitter

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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McCain said Trump's tweets were "unclear," and that he did not believe new policy decisions were "appropriate" until the study has been completed and reviewed by Defense Secretary James Mattis, military leadership, and Congress.

Other senators echoed McCain's assessment:

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