Zukunft pledged to "not break faith" with transgender service members
The US military is still awaiting formal direction from the White House regarding any potential policy change
Coast Guard Commandant Paul Zukunft seemed to break with President Donald Trump over his announcement last week to ban all transgender personnel from serving in the US military.
Nearly a week after Trump wrote a tweet that appeared to reinstate a ban on transgender service members, Zukunft pledged to “not break faith” with transgender service members in remarks to a Washington think tank on Tuesday – adding that he immediately reached out to all 13 transgender members of the Coast Guard immediately following the tweets.
Specifically, Zukunft described his call to Lt. Taylor Miller, who is reportedly the first openly transitioning member of the Coast Guard and was recently featured in the Washington Post.
“I told Taylor I will not turn my back,” Zukunft told the Center for Strategic and International Studies forum. “We have made an investment in you and you have made an investment in the Coast Guard, and I will not break faith.”
The Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security but “aligns closely with Department of Defense on accessions and workforce/HR policies and will be working with them on this new policy going forward,” according to a department spokesperson.
The US military is still awaiting formal direction from the White House regarding any potential policy changes, a spokesman for the Pentagon said Monday.
“What you saw in the form of a tweet was representative of an announcement, that doesn’t result in any immediate policy changes for us. We will await formal direction,” US Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters at the Pentagon.
Asked if Trump’s Wednesday tweets were the only White House guidance the Pentagon had received so far on the topic, Davis responded: “Correct.”
“We are now in the process of waiting for that to be formally articulated to us in a policy memo and we’ll be standing by to make that happen, until then (we) don’t have anything on it,” Davis added.
Defense officials told CNN last week that the Pentagon had asked the White House for additional guidance soon after the President’s tweet.
CNN’s Ryan Browne and Tammy Kupperman contributed to this report.