Lately, there have been many articles and misinformed posts circulating around the internet regarding the congressional vote on transgender surgeries for the military. These articles have tried to shame the Republican congressmen and women who voted in favor of it.
Here’s what really happened:
The transgender surgery policy was put into place under President Obama’s fourth Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter. When President Trump appointed General James Mattis to the position, he asked congress to let him handle this policy as it is a military matter. Our Congressman Steve Knight and many others in congress agreed to keep this policy out of congress’ hands and allow SecDef Mattis handle it. Congressman Knight’s vote is in accordance to his agreement with SecDef Mattis.
The transgender surgery policy change was brought forward by Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-Missouri). She brought this to congress knowing full well that many in congress had given their word to Secretary of Defense Mattis, and she knew it would not pass. She did this so that she could go back to her constituents and say, “Well, I tried”, while knowingly throwing some republican congressman and women under the proverbial bus.
Congressman Knight did what is right by keeping his promise and voting in a fashion that would keep this issue out of congress to allow the military to handle it as requested by Secretary of Defense Mattis. In the meantime, there is a 6 month freeze on the policy so the military can look into it.
Many times, people on the internet only look at a small portion of bill or policy without reading what else is attached or understanding the current circumstances surrounding it. Reactionary responses like the ones used ti attack Congressman Knight, are usually uninformed responses. In this case, on the surface, it looked like Congressman Knight voted for transgender surgeries, when in actuality he voted to keep the policy in the hands of the military and not congress because we all know what happens when congress, and thus government, gets involved in controversial policies such as this one.
Next time, I suggest that if something about a bill or policy doesn’t look right, seem right, or feel right, a better approach than spouting off online is to call your elected official’s office to get a firsthand explanation about why he or she voted the way he or she did. That’s what I did and you should too.