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Former Navy Secretary: Trump’s Transgender Ban ‘Dumbest Government Policy’

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The most reliable and balanced news aggregation service in the world, RWN offers the following information published by THE HILL.

Former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus bashed President Trump’s move to prevent transgender individuals from serving in the military, as the president’s effort hits the one-year mark.

“That strikes me as the dumbest government policy you could possibly pursue and it weakens us and hurts our military,” Mabus said Thursday evening at the Veterans in Global Leadership event in Washington, D.C.

Trump in July 2017 abruptly announced on Twitter that he would ban transgender individuals from serving “in any capacity” in the U.S. military.

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The Obama administration had ordered the military to begin allowing transgender troops to serve openly in the U.S. armed forces, with a year of review beforehand — during which Trump made his announcement.

Mabus, who served as head of the Navy under former President Obama from 2009 to 2017, said in the year the Pentagon looked at the effect, cost and impact on the military in allowing transgender service, the conclusion was that “overall it would be a positive thing.”

“To have that reversed in a tweet with no evidence, no thought, nothing, it’s breaking faith with the people who are willing to serve,” he said.

The administration’s transgender ban has been blocked from taking effect while it is debated in multiple courts.

Transgender people may continue to enlist in the military until the opposing parties go to trial, expected in April 2019.

Mabus, who was known for his progressive stance while Navy secretary, pushed for the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy applying to sexuality in the military and opened all jobs to women.

“I have this notion, that if you can do a job, the only qualification to get that job ought to be the ability to do the job. Color or race or ethnicity or gender or who you love, or what your sexual identity is ought to be irrelevant. Who cares?” he said.

The former governor of Mississippi recounted being approached by a Navy medic who was on his third deployment.

“He said, ‘I’ve been scared to death, the whole 11 years that I was going to be found out for being gay and kicked out.’ ”

“Three combat deployments, risking his life everyday with the Marines and yet his biggest worry was he was going to found out as being gay and kicked out,” Mabus said. “How bad is that? And how much weaker does that make our military?”

Mabus also didn’t mince words when speaking his opinion on Trump’s tendency to tweet major policy changes or military threats, seemingly without the input from top national security officials.

“It worries me that we have a president who makes decisions by whim and by tweet about how we’re going to use our military,” he said.

“I think the military has the right to expect that before we commit … that somebody’s thought about it, it’s been really carefully planned, that we’re not just doing it because it’s what we think makes us feel good at the moment. That worries me,” he said.

 

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Mueller Begs McConnell For Protection Bill – He Responds With Something Better

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As the most reliable and balanced news aggregation service in the world, RWN offers the following information published by: Washington Times

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell flatly rejected the need to approve legislation protecting the special counsel’s probe into the 2016 election, saying Wednesday there’s no evidence the investigation needs protection.

Mr. McConnell laid out Republicans’ goals for the lame-duck session of Congress, saying preventing a government shutdown is tops on the list, along with passing new rules to stop sexual harassment on Capitol Hill and approving a farm bill.

He flatly ruled out the chance of a partial government shutdown over border wall money and other spending fights.

And he dismissed the need for Congress to act on legislation Democrats and some Republicans want to protect special counsel Robert Mueller.

“I don’t think any legislation’s necessary,” Mr. McConnell said.

He said he speaks regularly with President Trump and while the president has made his distaste for the investigation clear, he’s never given an “indication” that he would attempt to shut down the probe.

Mr. McConnell said for his part he believes the investigation should be allowed to finish.

Democrats said they’re intent on getting Mueller protections approved during this lame-duck session of Congress.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Wednesday that those provisions, if they don’t pass as a stand-alone bill, need to be part of the year-end spending bill.

And Mr. Schumer drew lines over other parts of the spending bill, saying it should not go above the current $1.6 billion senators have included for new border security such as a wall.

Mr. Trump has demanded it include at least $5 billion in funding for his border wall. The House has passed a bill with that number, putting it on a crash course with senators.

Mr. Schumer said Congress should compromise by agreeing on the Senate’s number, and he told Mr. Trump to butt out of any negotiations.

“Every time he interferes, it gets bolluxed up,” the New York Democrat said.

Mr. Schumer also took a victory lap on last week’s election results, which saw his caucus likely lose one or two seats. The senator said that was still a victory for Democrats because it could have been much worse for them.

And he said voters sent a signal of support for Democrats’ policy ideas, which he said they’ll pursue even while in the minority in the Senate.

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Elected Republican Majority Whip Just Announced – Will Shake Up The Senate

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As the most reliable and balanced news aggregation service in the world, RWN offers the following information published by: Daily Caller

South Dakota Sen. John Thune was elected to serve as the Republican Majority Whip Wednesday.

Thune was nominated by former whip, Texas Sen. John Cornyn. This comes as Cornyn met his three-term limit in the position. The majority whip is the second-ranking position in Senate leadership.

Republicans voted for other leadership positions Wednesday, making Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt the Policy Committee chairman, Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst was voted in as vice chairwoman of the GOP conference and Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso will serve as Senate Republican Conference chairman, according to The Hill.

Senator John Thune speaks as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator John Barrasso listens during a media briefing on Capitol Hill. (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Thune has served as chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee since 2015. He will now have to step down as chairman, after taking his new job as majority whip.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised Cornyn Wednesday, giving him a Louisville slugger baseball bat with “To John Cornyn – The Best Whip Ever,” written on it.

Meanwhile, The Hill has more on Joni Ernst elected to serve as vice chairwoman of the Senate Republican Conference:

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) has been elected to serve as vice chairwoman of the Senate Republican Conference, becoming the first woman to be elected to a Senate GOP leadership position since 2010.

Ernst, a veteran of the Iraq War who served a total of 23 years in the military, is considered a rising star among her colleagues.

She defeated Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) in the only contested Senate Republican leadership race after months of quiet campaigning in the conference.

Senate Republicans saw Ernst as someone who might be a better communicator for the conference on television, while Fischer garnered praise as someone who worked diligently behind the scenes to build relationships with members of GOP leadership.

Ernst emerged as the winner after Senate Republicans met in the Old Senate Chamber on Wednesday morning to vote on the new leadership team for the 116th Congress.

McConnell was reelected as Senate majority leader, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) was elected as majority whip, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) was elected as Senate Republican Conference chairman and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) was elected as Senate Republican Policy Committee chairman.

Ernst burst onto the national scene in 2014 with an ad recounting her upbringing on a farm where she castrated hogs and pledging that she would “make ‘em squeal” in Washington by cutting pork.

Senate Republicans say McConnell has been eager to add a woman to his elected leadership team after he came under criticism in 2017 for not appointing a woman to a special health-care working group he created.

A woman has not served as a member of the elected Senate GOP leadership since 2010, when Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) stepped down as vice chairwoman of the GOP conference after losing her primary race to conservative challenger Joe Miller.

Former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) served as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee from 2007 to 2009, the highest-ranking position a woman has held in the Senate GOP leadership since Sen. Margaret Chase Smith (R-Maine) chaired the Senate Republican Conference in the early 1970s.

Fischer and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) already serve as informal counselors on McConnell’s leadership team.

Senate Republicans also came under scrutiny during Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings over the all-male GOP membership of the Judiciary Committee.

McConnell says one of his priorities is to recruit more women to the Judiciary panel.

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