Billionaire and CEO of Tawani Enterprises Colonel Jennifer Pritzker denounced Thursday the president’s decision to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. military.
In a statement, the retired U.S. Army officer and longtime Republican who came out as transgender in 2013 said she strongly disagrees with Donald Trump. Trump announced the change in a series of tweets Wednesday morning, citing that the military “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption” of transgender individuals.
Pritzker, the cousin of gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker and former Obama official Penny Pritzker, said in a statement, “More than one Surgeon General, several Generals and Admirals, and exhaustive studies have proven that service by transgender personnel will not harm combat readiness, morale or discipline and that it will impose no significant financial burden on the defense budget.”
She added that she reached out to the president to express disappointment and offered assistance to find “a better solution” than banning transgender citizens from serving in the military, which they have been allowed to do openly since last year, when then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter lifted a previous ban.
Trump’s tweets elicited a strong reaction from transgender veterans, and Pentagon officials have said the policy will not change until the White House issues official guidelines.
Priztker says Trump’s statement contradicts what is known about transgender people serving in the military. “There are thousands of transgender veterans and those currently serving who have made enormous personal sacrifice to serve their country by subordinating their personal identities to service to our nation,” Pritzker said.
“Virtually all of them have served and are serving honorably and many with distinction and heroism. I would like to personally thank all of the men and woman who serve our nation, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion,” she added.