President Donald Trump announced via Twitter Wednesday that he plans to reinstate a ban on transgender individuals serving "in any capacity" in the U.S. armed forces. "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," Trump wrote, saying he'd reached the decision after consulting with "generals and military experts" about it.
Many people in Hollywood took to social media to criticize Trump, and late-night hosts on several TV networks found creative ways to show their support for the transgender community.
The Tonight Show's Jimmy Fallon, for example, invited transgender comedianPatti Harrison to deliver a three-minute monologue. "As a trans person, it's hard to articulate exactly how I feel. But I guess if I had to describe it, I'd say, 'Donald, you're so stupid. You are so stupid. You're lucky you're so hot,'" she joked. "When I saw the headline this morning, at first I just read, 'Donald Trump Bans Transgender People,' and I was like, 'Yeah, that sounds like him.' But then I realized it was just in the military and I was shocked because I assumed he already did that."
"Now, I don't necessarily want to serve in the military, but I want the right to serve. You know, it's like I don't want to go to your baby shower, but I want to be invited. I don't even think Trump knows what transgender means; he probably thinks transgender people are those cars that turn into robots. There are amazingly brave trans people who should be allowed to serve, like Kristin Beck, a retired Navy SEAL with a purple heart, bronze star and countless service medals. And yet Trump says transgender people in the military would be a tremendous disruption. And I get it—if you constantly draw attention to yourself, spend all day distracting everyone and cost taxpayers millions of dollars, the perfect job for you isn't the military," said Harrison, a correspondent on NBC's TheTonight Show. "It's the President of the United States."
And on Late Night, host Seth Meyers asked four of his female writers to share their reactions.
The Late Late Show's James Corden sang a parody of Nat King Cole's "L-O-V-E" titled "L-G-B-T."
"L, he doesn't care for lesbians / G, he thinks two men should just be friends / B, to his dumb knowledge, is just a phase in college / T, he finds confusing, so the army's now refusing / Trans women who only want to serve / Trans men who want rights we all deserve / POTUS thinks it's unsavory / Patriots who know real bravery," the host sang. "Trump's got hate for me and you."
Earlier on CBS' The Late Show, Stephen Colbert took the liberty of editing Trump's tweets. "Those 15,000 transgender troops who volunteered to serve our country were minding their own business, protecting our freedoms, when they all got fired by tweet. That's like your wife divorcing you by cookie bouquet. And keep in mind—this is what really stings—they are being rejected by a rich guy who, during Vietnam, sidestepped the draft with four deferments and a medical disqualification for bone spurs in his foot. Yeah, I know," Colbert said. "But they were manly bone spurs—in a powerful dude foot!—that just got all ouchie when he put it in a boot."
As for the "tremendous medical costs" Trump mentioned? "It's estimated that healthcare for transgender personnel would add between $2.4 million and $8.4 million per year to the military's healthcare budget. To put that number in perspective, the military spends five times as much on Viagra—and if your erection lasts for more than four hours, that's too bad, because you're stuck on a submarine for the next six months. Why so much Viagra? Is that why they don't use bayonets anymore? They just put an edge on that thing? Just sharpen that thing up to a mirror polish? Clearly, it's not about the money or the military, because the Pentagon seems to be unaware that Trump has decided to bar transgender people from the military," he added.
Meanwhile, on TBS' Full Frontal, Samantha Bee said, "We don't make bulls--t discriminatory laws on Twitter. That's what Congress is for—and even they don't have your back on this one."
Furthermore, the host told viewers, "Firing thousands of active-duty service members during the big push against ISIS was Trump's version of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' He didn't ask anyone if it was a good idea, and he didn't tell anyone he was going to do it—but that is how we roll now."
"As usual, this proclamation from Trump was full of B.S.," The Daily Show's Trevor Noah said on Comedy Central. After breaking down the commander-in-chief's tweets ("without going mad"), he said, "I know some people were surprised by the President's order this morning, but maybe we shouldn't be. Because even though Trump always claimed he was for the LGBT rights, he never seemed fully comfortable in that identity." To prove his point (and get a laugh), he showed clips of Trump's history of forgetting parts of the acronym. "Donald Trump said he'd protect LGBTQ citizens. And considering how many wars he's going to start, maybe he just did."
Finally, Chelsea Handler previewed Friday's episode of her eponymous Netflix show with a message to the transgender community—and to Trump himself. "I'm sorry a man that has never served in the military a day in his life is denying you the right to serve your country," she said. "Thank you for your service and thank you for your bravery. And to the members of the Republican Party who continue to choose party over politics, grow a f--king spine! Goodnight."
(E! and NBC are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)