President Donald Trump has announced a total ban on transgenders serving in the United States military, citing the medical and social burdens that they would bring to military service. The announcement has not only caused outrage across both social and traditional media but some confusion as well. The Defense Department study on the matter is still ongoing. Twitter is, to say the least, an unusual medium to make an announcement of this nature.

George Takei erupts

Typical of some of the reaction from the LGBT community came from George Takei, the former "Star Trek" actor who has since become an activist. He tweeted, “History shall record that you are not only the stupidest, most incompetent president ever, but also the cruelest and pettiest.

#Shame.” The tweet elicited a sharp reaction from some who pointed out the cruelty of a number of Democratic presidents. They included Andrew Jackson who perpetrated the Trail of Tears, Franklin Roosevelt who tossed Japanese Americans, including Takei and his family, into internment camps, Woodard Wilson who arrested anti-war protestors, and any number who supported slavery. Over the top reactions like that would tend to help Trump.

John McCain responds

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, had a more measured and, for Trump, a more devastating response. He tweeted, “Any American who meets current medical & readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving.”

McCain expanded on his tweet with an official statement that decried the president’s tweet. He wondered whether Trump was announcing official policy or had jumped the gun.

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He pointed out that the Defense Department study on the matter is still ongoing. No decision should be made before the study is completed and thoroughly vetted by the Secretary of Defense, the military brass, and the Congress.

McCain’s opinion on the matter has considerable weight, owing both to his status as a war hero and his chairmanship of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The left can be counted on to oppose Trump’s statement, but McCain will sway plenty of moderate and even conservative opinion against it as well.

It is also unclear how much a medical burden the military will incur by allowing transgenders to serve. One estimate pegs the number at about $8 million a year. On the other hand, the social implications are not something to be taken lightly. The prospect of people who are anatomically male but psychologically female sharing showers with servicewomen is something that needs due consideration.

On the whole, Trump’s tendency to tweet before thinking things through has once against bought him another unnecessary controversy. No doubt some sort of better-considered elaboration will be in the offing.