A retired Navy SEAL who came out as a transgender woman after retiring in 2011 urged President Donald Trump to say to his face that he is not worthy of serving in the U.S. military.
“Let’s meet face to face and you tell me I’m not worthy,” Kristin Beck told Business Insider Wednesday. “Transgender doesn’t matter. Do your service.”
Beck served 20 years in the Navy SEALs with SEAL Teams 1, 5 and the elite Team 6. Beck was deployed 13 times, including stints abroad in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The SEAL veteran received multiple military awards and decorations, including a Purple Heart for wounds sustained in combat and the Bronze Star award for valor.
“I was defending individual liberty,” Beck said. “I defended for Republicans. I defended for Democrats. I defended for everyone.”
Beck’s statement came in response to Trump’s announcement Wednesday that the U.S. government will not allow transgender individuals “to serve in any capacity” in the U.S. armed forces.
“After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military,” Trump said in a series of tweets.
“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail,” the president said.
But Beck said the cost of providing medical services to transgender service members is “negligible.”
“You’re talking about .000001% of the military budget,” Beck said.
“They care more about the airplane or the tank than they care about people,” Beck said. “They don’t care about people. They don’t care about human beings.”
Beck said any issues that would arise due to transgender service members would be a result of incompetent leadership more than anything else.
“A very professional unit with great leadership wouldn’t have a problem,” Beck said. “I can have a Muslim serving right beside Jerry Falwell, and we’re not going to have a problem. It’s a leadership issue, not a transgender issue.”
Beck publicly came out as transgender in 2013 after retiring from the Navy in 2011.
The naval veteran told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in a June 2013 interview that “no one ever met the real me” during 20 years of military service.
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