Austin Petersen, a current Republican Senate candidate from Missouri and former libertarian presidential candidate, disagrees with President Trump’s transgender military ban.
“Of course they should be allowed to serve; there have probably been people like that in the military since Roman times,” Petersen told Red Alert Politics.
He briefly displayed his opposition to the ban by tweeting out a Barry Goldwater quote.
When asked if he saw the transgender issue as a continuation of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy of the past, he argued, “They are trying to call it a mental illness, but 50-60 years ago they called being gay a mental illness. I don’t have a prejudiced bone in my body. I think attacking military members is a mistake.”
“I understand that if you’re a man dressed as a woman and having sex with a man, that’s homosexual,” he added. “If you want me to call you Caitlyn, I will; that’s polite.”
“They say we spend $41.6 million a year for viagra. Does everyone have a right to that?”
Petersen’s father was a Green Beret in the Army, and says he has cousins and uncles in the Marines which has given him a deep respect for the military.
Petersen ultimately believes that Trump’s tweet storm about the matter was a distraction from the the “real issues like healthcare and the budget” but believes that, “If they want to transition they can serve in a non-combat role. I understand that having hormonal replacements regularly might diminish combat readiness, but women have a hormonal situation once a month. I don’t see anyone willing to poke that bear.”
When asked if women should be allowed to serve in combat, Petersen expressed his support.
“Women should absolutely be able to serve in combat. Women have some visual acuity that men do not have. One of the best snipers in history was a Red Army Soviet women in World War II,” referring to Lyudmila Pavlichenko, who was credited with 309 kills.
“There is a long tradition of women in the military. I come at this issue from an agnostic viewpoint, with an open mind willing to be convinced on either side. I came out with a full appraisal that women are incredible warriors from Chinese traditions, to Rome, some secretly served as men in the Civil War, to today; they have a long honorable tradition in the military.”
Ultimately, Petersen is waiting to hear from Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who he claims is “the greatest military hero in the past 50 years.”
“I trust Mattis and I hope that Trump would have secured Mattis’ opinions. He advised against Hartzler’s bill and said that they needed time for a study about the matter. The administration asked members to wait, I’m not sure why Trump didn’t wait until a proper policy came up for this,” he explained.
When asked if he thought Twitter was an appropriate outlet to announce the policy shift, Petersen said, “I understand why Trump takes to Twitter… I sympathize with Trump as an outsider where the entire world is against you… Like me, it can be the only way to connect, because the media distorts what you say, it manufactured it has an agenda, it’s distortions.”