Donald Trump accused of using Hurricane Harvey to cover Joe Arpaio pardon and trans troop ban
President Donald Trump has been accused of trying to pass the transgender troop ban and the pardon Joe Arpaio under the radar while media outlets focus on Hurricane Harvey.
The hurricane is one of the most powerful ones to hit the US in over a decade and has already caused mass damage across broad swaths of southeast Texas.
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) August 25, 2017
However, as the hurricane came in Trump carried out two highly controversial acts.
The memo gives Mattis six months to implement the ban, by 23 March 2018.
He also excused Joe Arpaio, a former sheriff who was convicted of contempt of court for ignoring a ban on racial profiling.
Democrat Chuck Schumer headed up the allegations against Trump for using the hurricane as a screen to avoid criticism.
Taking to Twitter, Schumer wrote: “As millions of people in TX and LA are prepping for the hurricane, the President is using the cover of the storm to pardon a man who violated a court’s order to stop discriminating against Latinos.”
“And ban courageous transgender men and women from serving our nation’s Armed Forces.
“So sad, so weak … Joe Arpaio ignored the courts and the rule of law in order to systematically target Latinos in AZ. The definition of racism and bigotry. Then [Trump] ran to Camp David.
“The only reason to do these right now is to use the cover of Hurricane Harvey to avoid scrutiny,” he added.
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As well as imposing a six-month timeline to enact the ban, Mattis was also instructed to stop using funds for gender reassignment surgeries or medication related to transition.
It is unclear what will happen to the hundreds of transgender troops already serving.
According to the memo they will be assessed on a number of factors including “military effectiveness.”
It is unclear whether Mattis will be allowed to determine that some troops can stay.