CNN Guests Bash Transgender Ban, Favor $50 Million for Sex Changes

On Saturday's CNN Newsroom, two segments ran which both pushed from the left against President Donald Trump's announced ban on transgenders serving in the military. The first segment gave a sympathetic forum to a transgender activist and former Navy SEAL who ended up absurdly suggesting that the military should sextuple spending on sex change treatment from $8 million to $50 million a year.

And a later segment featured two right-leaning guests who nevertheless both bashed the move from the left by using pointed words like "narrow-minded," "ignorant," and "dumb"; and by predicting that it would be "disruptive," "offensive," and "damaging" for the military.

At 3:30 p.m. ET, host Ana Cabrera teased the upcoming segment before a commercial break, touting a former Navy SEAL who is "standing up to" President Trump. Cabrera:

Coming up here in the Newsroom, one transgender Navy SEAL is standing up to President Trump after his tweets calling for a ban on transgender soldiers in the military. She'll tell us why she thinks the President has now turned his back on a lot of veterans.

After the break, Cabrera introduced retired SEAL Kristin Beck, and gave him a mostly unchallenged forum to complain about the ban. The segment ended with the CNN host asking Beck if he would be willing to "compromise" on the issue of how much the Pentagon spends on transgender medical issues. Beck went over the top as he responded:

Yes, I would compromise. And my compromise would be: Give us the same amount of money you give in those little Viagra pills. So if you're spending $50 million a year on Viagra, then how about doing $50 million per year budgeted toward transgender surgeries or transgender care?

Beck's $50 million number was a reference to reports that the military spends $41.6 million a year on Viagra, $22.8 million on Cialis, and $8.4 million on sex change treatments.

It did not seem to occur to ether Cabrera or her guest that the amount spent on erectile dysfunction treatment may be more economically spread out over many more servicemen as opposed to sex treatments for transgenders who only make up less than 0.5 percent of service members.

Cabrera gave no pushback as she merely wrapped up: "Kristin Beck, thank you so much for your time and your thoughts."

A few hours later, Cabrera hosted a segment with right-leaning guests Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post, and Kurt Bardella -- former spokesman for Breitbart News. After spending the first parts of the discussion by covering conservative media reaction to President Trump flirting with firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, along with the other staff changes at the White House, Cabrera got to the issue of the transgender ban. The CNN host began by playing an audio clip of Trump aide Sebastian Gorka, who had spoken with the BBC on the matter:

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The military is not a microcosm of civilian society. They are not there to reflect America. They are there to kill people and blow stuff up. They are not there to be socially engineered. We want people who are transgender to live happy lives. But we want unit cohesion, and we want combat effectiveness, and that is why the President is doing this out of the warmth of his consideration for this population.

Turning to Bardella, Cabrera posed: "Kurt, apparently it caught military leaders off guard, including his Joint Chiefs of Staff. Is this transgender ban simply a play to his base?"

After answering in the affirmative, and recalling that Trump spends more on visits to Mar-a-Lago than the military spends on sex change treatments, Bardella then tossed in several negative adjectives to deride Gorka's right-leaning defense of the ban:

This is social policy by tweet, and, you know, and Gorkas's comments, they're just narrow-minded, ignorant, and dumb frankly. And it just shows that, again, there's just a lack of sophistication, awareness of the military structure. 

When it was Rubin's turn to speak, she, too, hit from the left in spite of  her pose as a right-leaning columnist:

And so what he's suggesting would be more disruptive, more offensive, more damaging to military morale than anything that LGBTQ members of the military are doing as they honorably serve in places of danger all around the world.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Saturday, July 29, CNN Newsroom with Ana Cabrera:

3:30 p.m. ET

ANA CABRERA: Coming up here in the Newsroom, one transgender Navy SEAL is standing up to President Trump after his tweets calling for a ban on transgender soldiers in the military. She'll tell us why she thinks the President has now turned his back on a lot of veterans. You're live in the CNN Newsroom.

(...)

Right now, President Trump's transgender military ban is triggering pushback in his own backyard. Protesters are gathering outside the White House today speaking out against the ban. When Trump's surprise announcement came Wednesday on Twitter, a lot of people in the LGBT community turned to a retired U.S. Navy SEAL for reaction -- a 20-year combat veteran once part of the elite Seal Team Six served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Africa; awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. 

I'm talking about Kristin Beck, the first ex-SEAL to live openly as a woman. She threw down a challenge to President Trump. Quote, "Let's meet face to face, and you tell me I'm not worthy." Kristin, thanks for being with us. Have you received any response from the Trump White House? Has anybody called up, sent an email. reached out in any way?

[KRISTIN BECK, FORMER US NAVY SEAL]

Absolutely. Yesterday, there wasn't a direct response to you, but one of the President's top aides was speaking out -- said President Trump's ban shows his warmth for transgender people. Let's listen to what Sebastian Gorka told the BBC.

SEBASTIAN GORKA, DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, IN AUDIO FROM BBC RADIO: The military is not a microcosm of civilian society. They are not there to reflect America. They are there to kill people and blow stuff up. They are not there to be socially engineered. We want people who are transgender to live happy lives. But we want unit cohesion, and we want combat effectiveness, and that is why the President is doing this out of the warmth of his consideration for this population.

CABRERA: Kristin, what's your reaction to that?

[BECK]

I want to ask you about what you're hearing from some of your friends serving currently in the military. I know there's a study commissioned by the Department of Defense last year that says that, when it looks at the number of transgender people in the military, there could be as many as 6,600 service members currently, some serving in war zones right now. What are you hearing from them?

[BECK]

When the news first broke of this ban, I know you said the President had no idea what kind of can of worms he just opened, and the LGBT community will organize, will respond, you said. Realistically, what can the LGBT community do about this proposed ban? How do you plan to fight it?

[BECK]

CABRERA: Would you be open to compromise when it comes to the finances that the President and others in Congress have pushed back regarding transgender surgeries or other treatments related to transitioning?

KRISTIN BECK, FORMER US NAVY SEAL: Yes, I would compromise. And my compromise would be: Give us the same amount of money you give in those little Viagra pills. So if you're spending $50 million a year on Viagra, then how about doing $50 million per year budgeted toward transgender surgeries or transgender care?

CABRERA: Kristin Beck, thank you so much for your time and your thoughts.

(...)

7:31 p.m. ET

ANA CABRERA: So, in between attacking Jeff Sessions and then getting rid of Reince Priebus and appointing John Kelly, Trump turned to Twitter to unveil a new ban on transgender military service, and top White House aide Sebastian Gorka had this to say. Let's watch.

SEBASTIAN GORKA, DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, IN AUDIO FROM BBC RADIO: The military is not a microcosm of civilian society. They are not there to reflect America. They are there to kill people and blow stuff up. They are not there to be socially engineered. We want people who are transgender to live happy lives. But we want unit cohesion, and we want combat effectiveness, and that is why the President is doing this out of the warmth of his consideration for this population.

CABRERA: Kurt, apparently it caught military leaders off guard, including his Joint Chiefs of Staff. Is this transgender ban simply a play to his base?

KURT BARDELLA, FORMER BREITBART EDITOR: Yes. This has nothing to do with military cohesion. This has nothing to do with the cost of having the health care for transgender service members -- of which, by the way, going to Mar-a-Lago every week costs more than it would for the cost of transgender service members. This is all about Trump trying to throw something to the base. There is no plan to actually implement this. There's no directive to DOD -- there's no guidance of how this would actually happen. The Joint Chiefs had no idea this was going to happen. 

This is social policy by tweet, and, you know, and Gorkas's comments, they're just narrow-minded, ignorant, and dumb frankly. And it just shows that, again, there's just a lack of sophistication, awareness of the military structure. And that they are willing and liable to say and do anything to try to change the story at any point if they think it benefits them. They think that it's better for them if the Democrat apparatus and liberals get all up in arms about LGBTQ issues, and it takes away from them focusing on some of the other things that are happening. Which, at that point in time, we are, what, in the middle of a health care debate.

CABRERA: And, yet, Jennifer, we did see Republican lawmakers pushing back about this issue as well, about this ban that the President threw out there.

JENNIFER RUBIN, WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: They really did, and this was a complete miscalculation on the President's part. They did, and some people with some military credentials -- like John McCain and Joni Ernst -- who also has served honorably for our nation's security -- really spoke out very harshly. And Mr. Gorka is a show boater, and he really has no credentials to be in the White House whatsoever. 

In fact, the military people are in the process of studying this. They will make a decision. And no one, including the Joint Chiefs, are talking about kicking people who are already in the military, already serving honorably, out. And so what he's suggesting would be more disruptive, more offensive, more damaging to military morale than anything that LGBTQ members of the military are doing as they honorably serve in places of danger all around the world.

CABRERA: Jennifer Rubin, Kurt Bardella, thank you both for your thoughts tonight.


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