Biden to drop Trump's military transgender ban: Source
US President Joe Biden is set to issue an executive order to reverse a Pentagon policy that bars transgenders from joining the military, dumping a ban ordered by former President Donald Trump during his first year in office, a person briefed on the decision told The Associated Press. Biden was expected to overturn the Trump policy during his early days in office.
Newly confirmed Defense Secretary supports the decision
The White House could announce the move as early as Monday, according to the person briefed on the decision who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the order. The move to reverse the policy has the support of Biden's newly confirmed Defense Secretary, retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, who spoke of the need to overturn it during his Senate confirmation hearing last week.
Everyone fit and qualified should be allowed to serve: Austin
"I support the president's plan or plan to overturn the ban," Austin said. "If you're fit and you're qualified to serve and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve," he added.
Biden has turned his attention to equity issues
The decision comes as Biden plans to turn his attention to equity issues that he believes continue to shadow all aspects of American life. Biden's transition team circulated a memo from Ron Klain, now the White House Chief of Staff, that sketched out Biden's plan to use his first full week as President to advance equity and support communities of color and under-served communities.
Decision is another example of Biden dismantling Trump's work
The move to overturn the transgender ban is also the latest example of Biden using executive authority in his first days as President to dismantle Trump's work. His early actions include orders to overturn a Trump administration ban on travelers from several predominantly Muslim countries, stop construction of the wall at the US-Mexico border, and launch an initiative to advance racial equity.
Austin is nation's first Black Defense Secretary
Meanwhile, Biden is also scheduled to hold a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony on Monday at the White House for Austin, who became the nation's first Black Defense Secretary.