President Donald Trump on Thursday defended his controversial ban on transgender troops serving in the military, saying he’s doing them "a favor" despite a flood of criticism for the policy change.
"It’s been a very difficult situation, and I think I’m doing a lot of people a favor by coming out and just saying it," Trump said while on a working vacation at his golf club in New Jersey. "As you know, it’s been a very complicated issue for the military. It’s been a very confusing issue for the military, and I think I’m doing the military a great favor."
Pentagon officials have said they would not implement the change until receiving clearer instructions from the White House, but five transgender members of the military have already sued over it.
Despite backlash from the LGBT community, Trump claimed he got support from those groups during the 2016 presidential election.
"I have great respect for the community. I think I’ve had great support, or I’ve had great support from that community," Trump said Thursday. "I got a lot of votes. But the transgender, the military’s working on it now."