Nigel Farage insists that Donald Trump ‘has a point’ about transgender people
Nigel Farage has insisted that Donald Trump “has a point” about transgender people in the military, after the President banned them from serving.
The President sparked anger yesterday by announcing a ban on transgender people serving in the US military.
In a string of Twitter posts, the President claimed that the military “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender would entail”.
The comments have caused considerable distress to the thousands of trans people already serving in the US armed forces.
But on his LBC radio show, former UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage – an associate of Trump – defended the decision.
Mr Farage cited the cost of providing gender-related medical care, saying: “He is right, there is a cost to this.”
He continued: “As we understand it, there are 4500 people in the US military who have come out as transgender. Whether this is a huge bill, or in relative terms to the defense budget, a very small bill, perhaps he has a point about cost.
“Does he have a point about disruption? I have a text here [from a listener] – ‘Whilst undergoing surgery, they can’t fight, but that comes across as prejudice’, says Cindy.
“On cost, he does I think have a point, and there are several Republicans who are trying through Congress to get amendments passed and say that if people want gender reassignment surgery, the military should pick up the tab. I think he does have a point.”
The former UKIP leader added: “The question is, is it actually a big enough point? Is it really that disruptive in an Army with reserves of 2 million people?”
On the show, the ex-politician spoke to a caller who wants gay people to be banned from the military, claiming they “cannot stand the rigours of combat” and “undermine unit cohesion” – while also lambasting money spent on “sex change operations”.
Mr Farage failed to challenge the homophobic comments, adding: “I completely understand your point. I think, one wonders at times, if one or two of the things that Obama put in place were in a sense poison pills for who came afterwards. I completely get the point about money being spent on this.”
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He added after the call: “Some views there that in the modern world would be considered highly controversial, but he said it and he meant it.
“It’s interesting, we don’t have these sorts of debates [in the UK] with the same passion as in America. They continue to be divided strongly on these big social and moral issues.”
Speaking at the end of the show, Mr Farage added: “Is Trump right, is he wrong? On the cost issue clearly he’s right, although that cost and that disruption among an army of 2 million men and women is probably fairly minor.
“I really do want to hear what the Generals and the Pentagon have got to say about this, and what their experience has been over the course of the last few years.”
Elsewhere this week, the Trump administration filed a legal brief arguing against discrimination protections for gay people.