Minnesota Reps. Betty McCollum and Tim Walz were among 114 members of Congress seeking answers from Defense Secretary James Mattis about Trump’s order banning on transgender people from enlisting in the military.

Specifically, the lawmakers are seeking information on any communications between the White House and the Pentagon about the ban on transgender people enlisting:

“We request information about what discussions or correspondence between the White House and the Pentagon, if any, led President Trump to make his assertion. If senior military or Department of Defense personnel asked that the president ban transgender individuals from military service, we request access to any letters, e-mails, telephone transcripts, meeting logs and minutes, or other materials that document such requests,” the letter stated. “If the Department has records of any other discussions that might have justified the president’s claim, we request to see those materials, as well. We seek access to these materials in order to determine whether the president, his national security team, and military leaders are actively coordinating policy with one another, or whether the president’s transgender ban announcement reflected a breakdown in communication.”

Rep. A. Donald McEachin, the lead author of the letter, blasted Trump’s ban:

“Decades ago senior military leadership and Members of Congress tried to say that a group of people, African-Americans, were not fit to serve and would run at the sight of a battle. I cannot believe that we are here today facing similar discrimination against transgender individuals. Transgender individuals are already bravely serving our country and do not need this discriminatory distraction.”

In a letter on Aug. 31, Reps. McCollum and Walz as well as Keith Ellison were among 143 members of Congress urging Trump to drop the ban.

Here’s the full letter:

Download (PDF, 2.71MB)

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Andy Birkey
Andy Birkey has written for a number of Minnesota and national publications. He founded Eleventh Avenue South which ran from 2002-2011, wrote for the Minnesota Independent from 2006-2011, the American Independent from 2010-2013. His writing has appeared in The Advocate, The Star Tribune, The Huffington Post, Salon, Cagle News Service, Twin Cities Daily Planet, TheUptake, Vita.mn and much more. His writing on LGBT issues, the religious right and social justice has won awards including Best Beat Reporting by the Online News Association, Best Series by the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and an honorable mention by the Sex-Positive Journalism awards.