“What the f**k? They’re coming in here, they’re getting clipped."

A passage in veteran reporter Bob Woodward's new book alleges that President Donald Trump crudely referred to transgender reassignment surgery as "getting clipped," LGBTQ Nation ​reported.

Woodward's book, "Fear: Trump in the White House," which was released on Tuesday, contained a particular excerpt that depicted Trump using transphobic language when discussing potential military policy changes with former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. Trump went on to announce the ban via Twitter without the input of any of his military advisors, according to Woodward.

In his book, Woodward described the conversation that preceded the ban on transgender troops. 

"During the campaign, Trump had proclaimed himself a supporter of LGBT rights. Now he told Bannon, 'What the f**k? They’re coming in here, they’re getting clipped'—a crude reference to gender reassignment surgery. Someone had told him that each surgery cost $250,000, an inflated number. 'Not going to happen,' he said."

Woodward went on to describe a conversation then Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Bannon, and a group of lawyers had with the president on the morning of July 26. Priebus had called Trump  to brief him on a decision memo regarding transgender troops serving in the military. The memo was drafted in response to a demand by more than 30 members of a conservative Congressional bloc known as the Freedom Caucus. The Freedom Caucus threatened to withhold votes on Trump’s budget unless he did something about transgender troops.

Woodward wrote that Priebus gave Trump four options:

"One was to retain the Obama policy that allowed transgender people to serve openly, two was to issue a directive to Secretary Mattis giving him leeway, three was a presidential order to end the program but come up with a plan for those transgender people already in the military, and four was to ban all transgender people from military service. The likelihood of being sued increased as they got to number four, Priebus explained. 'When you come down, we want to walk you through on paper,' Priebus said."

Trump reportedly told Priebus that he would arrive at the Oval Office shortly, but before that meeting took place, Trump had already announced out his unilateral decision in a series of tweets. 


While Woodward's book doesn't necessarily detail any shocking revelations regarding Trump's stance on LGBTQ issues, it does reinforce the public's perception of Trump's purportedly dismissive and ​rac​ist, attitude toward minorities. His controversial "animals" comments, referring to Colin Kaepernick as a "​son of a bitch," and remarks about "​very fine people" on both sides of a disastrous white nationalist rally in Charlottesville only serve to further this impression.

Trump's record on LGBTQ issues belies his previous statements of support for the community.

In addition to banning transgender individuals from serving in the military, since taking the White House, Trump's administration has ​fired every member of the HIV/AIDS Commission, refused to collect 2020 ​census data for LGBT Americans, and halted investigations on restroom discrimination toward transgender public school students. 

Trump's appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education and his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court has also caused consternation for those concerned about LGBTQ rights. DeVos' Education Department has ​halted the investigation of civil rights complaints from transgender students who are refused access to school bathrooms that match their gender identity. While LQBTQ advocacy groups have expressed concerns about Gorsuch's ​"anti-equality" ​record.

Despite these facts, Trump still enjoys some popularity among LGBT conservatives. In a February 2018 ​interview with Huffington Post Columnist Michelangelo Signorile, the leader of the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay conservative group, implied that Trump is even better for the LGBTQ community than former President Barack Obama. 

The Log Cabin Republicans leader Gregory T. Angelo praised Trump's social progressivism. 

“This president is the first president to enter the White House who believes that marriage equality is settled law of the land," Angelo told Huffington Post. "Barack Obama didn’t believe that when he entered the White House. Hillary Clinton only came around to that position in 2013.”

It should be noted that President Obama nominated two judges to the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, who provided two key votes in making the issue of marriage equality the law of the land. Trump, however, has refused to even ​acknowledge gay pride month for two years in a row.

Adam Johnson is an editorial intern at Pluralist.

You can reach him at Adam.J.Pluralist@gmail.com.