In the early days following the passage of House Bill 2 (HB2), politicians across North Carolina and the nation becomes polarized in support or condemnation of the legislation. Now, two state officials on opposite ends of the HB2 spectrum clash once again — this time over the ban on transgender military service announced in a series of Trump tweets.
“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,” the three-part Twitter series stated. “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. Thank you.”
The “tremendous costs” of medical care for transgender service members, according to The Washington Post, is $8.4 million annually at most. Compared to $41.6 million that the government pays annually for service members to fill Viagra prescriptions, the expense of medical transition coverage is roughly one-fifth the cost of that brand, and one-tenth of the $84 million spent on all erectile dysfunction treatments.
Similar to the aftermath of HB2, North Carolina politicians have butted heads over the anti-LGBTQ policy. House Rep. Mark Meadows, an HB2 supporter, played an integral role in pushing for the ban, according to an online story Axios published shortly after the tweets.
Meadows was quoted in The Charlotte Observer in May 2016 regarding the Obama administration’s warning to the North Carolina General Assembly to overturn HB2 or risk losing federal education funding. Despite more than $1 billion for the state’s schools at stake, Meadows urged staunch support for HB2 and intense criticism against the opposing side.
“The federal government has no business being a bully,” Meadows said. “When there are bullies among us, whether they’re in the other party or our party, the grassroots stand up and say enough is enough.”
Now the tables have turned, it seems, as Meadows is reported to have pressed the Trump administration to reverse an Obama-era policy allowing transgender service members in the military.
According to Axios, Meadows and other House conservatives “started threatening not to vote for the military appropriations bill unless the transgender issues were resolved…the security bill, which included Trump priorities like the border wall, could be derailed unless they handled this issue now.”
The issue was handled with a customary Twitter rant.
In stark contrast to Meadows, Gov. Roy Cooper loudly opposed HB2 as North Carolina attorney general, and repealed the law after being elected governor — replacing it with HB142, a problematic bill in its own right.
Gov. Cooper responded to the ban on transgender military service with a distinctly pro-LGBTQ statement, delivered through the preferred presidential medium of communication: Twitter.
“We need a strong military,” Gov. Cooper tweeted in response. “That means welcoming all qualified and ready to serve and sacrifice.”