Like a lot of people—and all people with human souls—Daily Show host Trevor Noah spent the day trying to come up with the right way to say, “Even for Donald Trump, this is some bullshit,” concerning Ol’ Bone Spurs’ excreted tweets this morning announcing that the brave transgender servicepeople would no longer be allowed to do the dangerous, necessary work that Trump avoided so courageously during Vietnam. (While playing lots of baseball, tennis, and, most perilous of all, squash.) “Let’s try to break it all down without going mad,” began Noah, before laying out that Trump’s bigoted toilet tweets, apart from being a safely long-distance slap in the face to thousands of American servicepeople and the LGBTQ community in general, were completely full of shit. Trump claimed he consulted with his “Generals and military experts.” The Pentagon issued a statement saying they had no idea what he’s talking about. Trump cited the cost of medical care for trans servicepeople and their families. Noah showed that those costs account for .001 percent of the U.S. military budget—and the cost to ferry Trump to his no-doubt vital and valiant golf trips (at properties Trump owns and profits from) cost multiple times more. (Or, to put it in another way, one-fifth of the military’s Viagra budget, which is apparently a thing.) Ultimately, a furiously bewildered “What the fuck?!” is all Noah can come up with in the face of this most recent affront to what American values are purported to be.
Wisely, Noah asked two guests to help understand just what Donald Trump’s glib online order of bigotry today will mean for transgender servicepeople, and U.S. military readiness overall. Military veterans Jennifer Marie Long and Joey Whimple, both of whom are trans, laid out the consequences with admirable restraint, considering that notoriously combat-averse Donald Trump is pandering to the most prejudiced dregs of his base in an advance of the developing storm of scandals and disgrace seemingly heading his way. Long explained that, despite having received a Bronze Star and other honors, she was forced out once her superiors became aware of her gender identity, which, among other things, deprived the Army of a lot of the very necessary skills she’d learned in her 30-year career.
And Whimple, whose need to hide his gender identity while serving in a military hospital tore at him daily even as he, like Long, served with distinction, told Noah that Trump isn’t just firing trans soldiers, he’s potentially saddling them with dishonorable discharges on a political whim. Doing so, according Whimple, will deprive veterans of education and health benefits and disqualify them from any future government jobs. For someone like Donald Trump to dismiss the bravery and even greater-than-normal sacrifices of trans servicepeople is especially galling, since, as Whimple said of his time serving his country, “It ate me up inside that I had to live this lie, but it didn’t affect my job.”