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President Bans Transgender Americans from the Military; Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired July 26, 2017 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:30:00] CHRISTINE QUINN, VICE CHAIRWOMAN, NEW YORK DEMOCRATIC PARTY: -- are not up to the job. It is outrageous. And how did he check with his generals and his military advisers when Department of Defense secretary is on vacation and the Pentagon is saying they were not spoken to. And beyond that, this money argument is the ultimate of bogus.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Let me jump in. Defense secretary is Mattis.
BALDWIN: Who did recently essentially saying he was -- his statement was -- I want to just get this precisely right. Last month delay enactment of the plan, wanted to evaluate the impact on readiness. That's what the sec def has said.
QUINN: But as all reports indicate, this happened this morning, as so many early morning tweets --
BALDWIN: No, the Pentagon was blindsided.
QUINN: Totally. Which -- so that part is bogus. Also let's talk about the money for a second. This has nothing to do with facts. It just has to do with hateful discrimination. The RAND Corporation did a study and estimated that it could cost $2.5 million to $8.5 million if there's medical services relating to transgender people in the military.
Every year, out of a close to $63 billion medical budget for the military, we spend about $90 million on erectile dysfunction drugs. $90 million compared to potentially $2.5 million to $8.5 million.
This is just about the president of the United States who said he would leave transgender Americans alone and stand with them during the campaign. He's now angered conservatives, because he's picking on Jeff Sessions, so he's throwing them a bone while attacking the transgender community and really pulling the rug out from 4,000 brave Americans.
BALDWIN: OK. I've heard your side.
BALDWIN: Matt Schlapp, let me hear your side. How do you see it? MATT SCHLAPP, FORMER GEORGE W. BUSH POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Christine's
been very rough on Barack Obama. I can't believe she just said that he was -- that it was disgusting discrimination. For seven and a half years of the Obama --
QUINN: I did. I did. I did.
SCHLAPP: For seven and a half years of the Obama --
QUINN: Check the record, Matt. I did. As I said, his delay in putting marriage equality in place was horrible. So don't pretend I'm only an LGBT activist now that Donald Trump -- don't play that game, Matt, because you will lose.
SCHLAPP: Christine --
QUINN: Make your argument on what is true to you.
SCHLAPP: Christine, for seven and a half years, President Obama --
QUINN: Well, he's not president anymore.
SCHLAPP: No, I --
QUINN: He did the right thing at the end and now your president is undercutting it.
SCHLAPP: I appreciate --
QUINN: It took him too long.
SCHLAPP: I appreciate that you're passionate on this issue. It is a very touchy issue. I get it. But for seven and a half years of the Obama administration, this was the very same policy. When General Mattis came into the Pentagon, he asked for an internal review.
All the reports I have read online that there were -- there was a lot of pushback from the services on this policy change. There's a very legitimate argument going on in Congress, just like with health care, as to whether or not -- you say leave the LGBTQ community, leave the transgender community alone. I think that's a very fair argument.
QUINN: The president said that. The president said that.
SCHLAPP: Let me talk now. But the question is, you're actually not asking them to be left alone. You're asking the American taxpayers, including those who might have disagreements with the idea of paying for these surgeries, to actually foot the bill for all of this. That is a question we have to ask ourselves as a country. Not whether you have the right to live your life, because you do have the right to live your life, but do the taxpayers -- are they mandated?
QUINN: But apparently not the right to defend your country.
SCHLAPP: No. No. The question is this --
QUINN: And you know what, as a taxpayer, Matt, I'm not so interested in paying for erectile dysfunction.
SCHLAPP: Christine, it's a nice package -- me neither. Christine --
QUINN: Not a big thing to me.
SCHLAPP: Let's join together -- let's join together on that. But the point is --
QUINN: On ending erectile dysfunction drugs? I'm with you, Matt.
SCHLAPP: Christine, it's not --
QUINN: I'm with you. We could be a team on that.
SCHLAPP: It's not discrimination when you say you don't want, as a taxpayer, has a moral problem pay for abortions. It's not discrimination --
QUINN: But that's not what the president said they could not serve.
SCHLAPP: -- when the taxpayer as I said --
QUINN: They could not serve.
SCHLAPP: If you could just let me talk, you're not going to win your argument by dominance.
QUINN: Well, you're talking, quite frankly, out of both sides of your mouth.
BALDWIN: Go ahead.
SCHLAPP: Boy, Christine, you're not going to get yourself converts doing that. Let me just finish the statement which is, as a country, we can decide whether or not you should be able to live your life and it should be legal, but the question of whether every taxpayer has to pay for it is a legitimate question we have to answer.
QUINN: But, Matt, that's not the question.
BALDWIN: Let me -- hang on. Hang on, both of you. Hang on. What if you are a transgender individual in the military and you don't want to undergo the surgery or you already have and you are actively serving.
Matt, just help me understand.
BALDWIN: We did a pre-tape with former Navy SEAL Kristen Beck whose question was, what does that mean for those current people serving the country? Does that mean they'll be kicked out? I mean, there --
SCHLAPP: I don't know.
BALDWIN: You agree with me there is a bit of ambiguity.
QUINN: So, Matt, is it - -
SCHLAPP: Yes, I think that --
QUINN: In all honesty, is it really about the money or is it about the transgender individuals? Because I pay for a lot of things as a taxpayer, as do you, that we may not want to.
[14:35:05] But now we're not saying it's about the money. We're saying they are not -- to quote the president, not allowed to serve. So what's it really about?
SCHLAPP: In the end, what happens on all questions of funding the government, this is going to be resolved in Congress, right? There's going to be a vote on whether or not this is allowed or not allowed. I can't tell you from the president's tweet, although it looks like it's categorical to me. I don't know what it means for the people who are serving or not serving but I don't think it's fair to say that just because people have a question about what taxpayer money should go to pay for or not pay for that it's discrimination.
If you want to live your life as you want to live it, you also should pick up the bills that are associated with it.
QUINN: You know what? When the president of the United States says a group of Americans, 4,000 of them who are serving bravely right now, when he says those 4,000 and other transgender Americans are not allowed to serve in the military, that's discrimination. Period, end of conversation.
SCHLAPP: And you would agree that for seven and a half years, Barack Obama was a bigot and was discriminating.
QUINN: Absolutely. No, I would not say he was a --
SCHLAPP: Good for you. Good for you for being fair.
QUINN: I would not say -- wait, Matt. I would not say he was a bigot. I would say he was wrong and discriminating against transgender Americans.
SCHLAPP: So Donald Trump isn't a bigot. He's just wrong. I like it. OK.
QUINN: I never called Donald Trump a bigot but he is discriminating against transgender people.
QUINN: Let's be clear.
QUINN: As did Obama. It's not whatever, Matt. It's people's lives.
SCHLAPP: Yes, but don't --
QUINN: And it sends a message that's hateful and I would call anyone on that, whether it was Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, whomever. I'm consistent in fighting discrimination. You guys aren't.
SCHLAPP: Can we just agree that you have --
BALDWIN: Here we go. The White House press briefing.
QUINN: Thank god.
BALDWIN: Here we go. Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It's that time again, as many of you have probably noticed, and I know several of you have asked about, for us to announce where the president will be donating his quarterly salary.
Last quarter, the president's salary went toward the restoration of two projects at a national battlefield. After his donation, additional donors quickly stepped up to bring the total gift to over $260,000.
And this quarter, the president will be donating his salary to the Department of Education. And with that, I would like to bring up Secretary DeVos to tell you about what the department will be doing with the president's money to help equip the boys and girls who will be the leaders of tomorrow.
Secretary DeVos, it's my pleasure on behalf of the president of the United States to present a check for $100,000 to the Department of Education.
Thank you very much, Madam Secretary.
BETSY DEVOS, EDUCATION SECRETARY: Well, thank you so much, Sarah. I want to start by saying how grateful I am to the president for this generous gift.
The president is committed to our nation's students and to reforming education in America so that every child, no matter their zip code, has access to a high quality education. He and I have had many conversations about how best to put students' needs first and ensure we are setting them up for a lifetime of success.
There's much work to be done but we are certainly on the right track thanks to the president's leadership.
Just yesterday, Ivanka Trump and I hosted a summer reading event at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History where the focus was on getting young girls age 6 to 10 excited about learning science, technology, engineering, and math. It was fun to see their eyes light up as they got to explore, create, and experiment in a collaborative environment.
Today's and tomorrow's economy require students prepared for STEM careers. That's why we've decided to use the president's second quarter salary to host a STEM focused camp for students at the Department of Education. We want to encourage as many children as possible to explore STEM fields in the hope that many develop a passion for these fields. We look forward to this exciting endeavor and I thank President Trump again for this generation gift. Thanks.
SANDERS: Thank you, Secretary DeVos. Thank you for coming and being here for that today.
Now I know Anthony's probably a little bit disappointed that he's not up here today, but since he did some TV this morning, he was able to go ahead and get his hair and make-up done, so I think he'll be OK.
SANDERS: As Anthony said when he was up here last week, we're looking to mix things up a little bit. From time to time, I'd like to give us all a little reminder of why we're here every day which I imagine for most of us is because we love our country and want to make it better.
I've spent a lot of time around the president over the last year and I know exactly why he's here. He's tough. He's a fighter. He's a strong leader and he's somebody who deeply loves this country and he loves its people and he wants to make America great again. In Washington, it's often easy to go to work, get lost in the process, and forget why we're here every day.
[14:40:02] The reason we're here is to serve the American people, and today I'd like for you to indulge me and let me tell you a little bit about what that means for me. To the best of my knowledge, I'm the first mom to hold the job of the White House press secretary. That says less about me than it does about this president. It's not just with personnel. It's about people and it's about policy.
Empowering working moms is the heart of the president's agenda, particularly when it comes to things like tax reform. I have three children and the oldest, Scarlet, starts kindergarten in a few weeks. Scarlet and every little girl in America should grow up in a country that if we deliver on the president's agenda of better jobs, better health care and a better tax system, that incentivizes women to work and raise children.
As a working mom, it's not lost on me what a great honor and what a privilege it is to stand here at the podium and I thank the president for the opportunity. I'll always do my absolute best to truthfully answer your questions and deliver the president's message. Jonathan, I'll preempt you from asking that question later. But I
also hope to send my daughter a message and to every other kid in America. Don't listen to the critics. Dream big and fulfill your potential because in this country, you still can.
To remind us a little bit more often about some of the forgotten men, women, and children that we're here to serve and that the president is fighting for, we're going to start the White House briefing every once in a while with a letter or an e-mail that we may receive from some of those individuals.
To kick it off with that process, I'd like to read you a letter from 9-year-old Dylan.
"My name is Dylan Harbin, but everybody calls me Pickle. I'm 9 years old and you're my favorite president. I like you so much that I had a birthday about you. My cake was the shape of your hat." And then Dylan goes on to ask a few questions. "How old are you?"
Dylan, President Trump is 71 years old. "How big is the White House?" The White House is 168 feet long, it's 70 feet tall on the south side and 60 feet, 4 inches tall on the north, and it takes 300 gallons of white paint to cover the exterior of the White House residence. It has 132 rooms and approximately 55,000 square feet.
"How much money do you have?" Dylan, I'm not sure but I know it's a lot. "I don't know why people don't like you." Me either, Dylan. "You seem really nice. Can we be friends?" I'm happy to say that I directly spoke to the president, Dylan, and he would be more than happy to be your friend.
"My picture is in here, so if you can, see me and say hello." Dylan, I hope you're watching because the president wanted me to personally tell you hello. "Your friend, Dylan."
Dylan, thanks for writing to the president and if you're ever in Washington, D.C., I hope you'll stop by and let us show you around the White House. And with that, I'll take your questions.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sarah, Jeff Sessions was here today. Did he -- what was he doing here? Did he meet with the president? And what does the president think about the conservatives who are rallying behind Jeff Sessions, saying he's essential to staying through all this?
SANDERS: The attorney general was here for other meetings, not with the president. It was a principals committee meeting, and did not see the president while he was here. I think the president has been very clear about where he is. He's obviously disappointed but also wants the attorney general to continue to focus on the things that the attorney general does.
He wants him to lead the Department of Justice. He wants to do that strongly. He wants him to focus on things like immigration, leaks, and a number of other issues and I think that's what his focus is at this point. UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: To follow up, if the attorney general launches
a leak probe, would that help his status with the president?
SANDERS: I don't think that's the, you know, nature of the relationship. Again, I think that the president is disappointed. He stated that and I don't think there's anything more to add beyond that at this point.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sarah, thank you. Couple questions about the new policy on transgender service members the president announced this morning. First, what happens to transgender service members now? Are they immediately thrown out of the military?
SANDERS: That's something that the Department of Defense and the White House will have to work together as implementation takes place and is done so lawfully.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So it's possible -- because I see that, the president was pretty clear in his tweet that transgender individuals, he will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity. So does that mean that those that are now in theater, that are now deployed to Afghanistan, for example, will have to be immediately sent home, discharge?
SANDERS: Again, the implementation policy is going to be something that the White House and the Department of Defense have to work together to lawfully determine and, you know, I would imagine the Department of Defense will be the lead on that and keep you posted as that takes place.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Why did he decide to do this given that during the campaign he had declared that he would be -- he would protect the rights of transgender individuals?
[14:45:08] He said he would be better on this issue than Hillary Clinton. Now he's turned the clock back on this issue regarding the military.
SANDERS: The president has a lot of support for all Americans and certainly wants to protect all Americans at all times. The president's expressed concerns since this Obama policy came into effect, but he's also voiced that this is a very expensive and disruptive policy and based on consultation that he's had with his National Security team, came to the conclusion that it erodes military readiness and unit cohesion and made the decision based on that. Kevin.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thank you, Sarah. If I could follow up on what Jonathan just asked, the president actually tweeted, "Thank you to the LGBT community. I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs."
And so I'm wondering, you said the policy -- the president in general wants to protect all Americans. Does this shift in policy protects transgender Americans and what is the message that he is attempting to send to them by making this shift in policy? And if I could follow on health care --
SANDERS: Let me answer that first question and we'll come back to health care.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sure.
SANDERS: On that, the decision is based on a military decision. It's not meant to be anything more than that. And it's simply about -- obviously, it's a very difficult decision. It's not a simple one. But the president feels that it's the best one for the military.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: OK, on health care, then if I could follow really quickly, can you repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and still protect Medicaid funding? We're talking about the most dependent among us and the need for Medicaid is great. And that seems to be a major concern among some lawmakers, including Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski.
So I'm wondering, from the president's perspective, if congressional lawmakers do send him a repeal that does not protect Medicaid funding, is that something he would still support, and what is he doing to try to protect Medicaid as it is now?
SANDERS: The president's been clear that he wants to protect those that are a part of that program. But also very focused on repealing and replacing. We're working through that process. Excited about the progress that was made yesterday, and we're going to continue pushing forward until we get a new and better health care plan. Francesca?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thank you, Sarah. One short thing and then questions. Can you provide us with a copy of the letter that you read? Even hold it up or distribute a copy to us.
SANDERS: Sure. I'll be happy to. I'll knock out Dylan's name -- last name because of --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But back on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, you said that he didn't meet with the president when he was at the White House this week. Has he spoken to the president this week? Do you know when the last time the two of them spoke was?
SANDERS: I don't believe they've spoken this week. I'm not sure on the time frame.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: OK. And then another follow-up on Jeff Sessions.
SANDERS: I'll raise you.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You said that the president has been very clear about his position on Jeff Sessions. And yesterday the president said that he wasn't leaving him to, quote, "twist in the wind." But he continued to tweet about him this morning. If he is so frustrated and so disappointed in him, why doesn't he just ask him to resign or fire him? Why does he continue to just tweet about him instead?
SANDERS: Look, you can be disappointed in someone but still want them to continue to do their job and that's where they are.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Does he want him to continue in that job?
SANDERS: I think that I made clear last week, if there comes a point he doesn't, he'll make that decision. Blake?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thank you. Let me have you please clarify if you can some comments that the president made in the "Wall Street Journal" interview yesterday about tax reform. He said, and I quote here, "The truth is that the people I care most about are the middle income people in this country who have gotten," as he say, "screwed, and if there's upward revision, it's going to be on high income people."
On that upward revision part, what exactly was the president talking about? Is it a revision from his plan on the personal side of 35 percent or is it revising it up from the current tax code?
SANDERS: When we get ready to walk through the full details of the plan, I'm happy to do that at that time. But right now, we're focused on the three big priorities of the tax reform, a simple fairer tax code, middle class relief, and creating jobs. That's where we are right now. We're continuing to work through that process and we'll make announcements as we have specifics.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Let me just ask you that more general question on that. Does the president believe that the wealthiest Americans deserve a tax cut?
SANDERS: I think the president is looking and prioritizing middle class tax relief. He's made no secret about that. That's one of the biggest priorities of the three things that he's focused on when it comes to tax reform. George?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thanks, Sarah. I have two questions for you. First, the president has had almost 24 hours to review the Russia sanctions legislation. Has he decided if he's going to sign that?
SANDERS: Well, it's a little bit more complicated than that. Senator Corker actually came out earlier today and said that he's not fully supportive of where the bill stands. We expect that there's a possibility that more changes take place. And so we're going to see what that looks like before we make a final decision.
[14:50:02] But I can tell you that the White House, the president and the entire administration as we've said many times before, strongly supports sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: My second question is, is the president considering looking at any kind of policy about transgender people serving in the White House now that he's tried to make a decision on transgender people serving in the military? SANDERS: No, once again, this was a decision based on what was best
for the military and military cohesion. And on the counsel of his National Security team.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sarah --
SANDERS: Go ahead, Major.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So the impression we get in the Pentagon is they were a little bit -- caught a little bit flat footed by the president's tweet. As I understand it this was and has been for the last couple of weeks a conversation here specifically about Tricare coverage for transgender procedures, and it suddenly evolved, and for the president to then go on Twitter to announce this ban. And as you already told us, the White House and the Pentagon are going to have to lawfully implement that.
Typically when you have an announcement of this magnitude, all of that work has been done at the procedural level between the bureaucracies of the Pentagon and the White House. Why wasn't any of that work done and why was the Pentagon caught so surprised this morning by the president's tweets on that?
SANDERS: As I said before, the president's National Security team was part of this consultation. You mentioned yourself that there have been ongoing conversations.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: About this one particular smaller issue, not a whole ban.
SANDERS: When the president made the decision yesterday, the secretary of Defense was immediately informed, as were the rest of the National Security team that had been part of this ongoing conversation.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: But you can't answer the question of what's going to happen to transgenders who are in the military now. Shouldn't you have been able to answer that basic question with a policy of this magnitude?
SANDERS: Look, I think sometimes you have to make decisions and once he made a decision, he didn't feel it was necessary to hold that decision and they're going to work together with the Department of Defense to lawfully implement it.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: OK. One last thing on Sessions. Just because this is a -- the baseline question. You said earlier the president was frustrated. Is that frustration now in the past? And does he fully have confidence in the attorney general to carry out his duties from this day forward?
SANDERS: The president wants the attorney general to focus on his duties as attorney general, and I think we've both spoken about that pretty extensively and I don't have anything else to add. Peter?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sarah, you just announced the president's donating the second quarter salary of $100,000 to the Department of Education. So clearly he must care about education. Why then is he calling for $9.2 billion in spending cuts to the Department of Education in the next budget?
SANDERS: Look, I think that oftentimes you have a lot of duplicative efforts, and they want to streamline the process, and we simply have a government that's completely out of control when it comes to spending. We have an outrageous deficit. And we're looking to make things that we have a balanced budget in the next 10 years.
The president campaigned on it. He's committed to seeing it through but he's also committed to education as you can see by his own personal commitment and looking for ways that we can save and continue on to make education better, passing some of that decision making down to more local and state control and something we're certainly supportive of.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Quickly on transgender -- just a quick follow- up. In June of 2016, in the heat of the campaign, he wrote, "Thank you to the LGBT community. I will fight for you." Did the president today just betray his commitment to the transgender community?
SANDERS: No, as I answered before, this was a decision about military readiness. And I've already answered even to that specific tweet.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What do you say to the transgender community that he is still committed to fight for them and how is this not not fighting for them?
SANDERS: I think the president has made very clear he's committed to fighting for all Americans.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is this fighting for all Americans?
SANDERS: Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sarah, thank you very much. Was this decision on transgender in the military made to put pressure on Democrats running in 2018, particularly Democrats running in socially conservative districts like in Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin?
SANDERS: Not that I'm aware of.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And just a follow-up on that. What is the time line for when guidance will be delivered to the Pentagon on how the president's decision should be implemented?
SANDERS: We'll let you know when we have an announcement. Peter?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sarah, the president said this morning or tweeted this morning, asking why the attorney general has not fired Andrew McCabe as acting FBI director. Why hasn't the president fired Andrew McCabe as acting FBI director?
SANDERS: The president's made an incredible nominee in Chris Wray and he's looking forward to getting him confirmed and taking over the FBI.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: If he wants to fire him, why should Attorney General Jeff Sessions fire him?
SANDERS: He's made a choice to lead that agency and we're looking forward to getting him confirmed soon. April?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sarah, two questions. One following up what Major with Tricare and the transgender community. There's been a concern from the transgender community before President Trump became President Trump that if Obamacare changed to Trumpcare, they were wondering if they were able to get the procedures to help them complete their phases of becoming the other sex or the other gender.
[14:55:03] What do you say to those people who are seeing this now with this ban in the military? What do you say to Transgender America who wants to continue with the change? Maybe some who already have part of the change and want to do the change and are scared because of what's happening now, not for certain. What do you say to Transgender Americans?
SANDERS: As I've said before, and I'll try to make this clear, this was a military decision. This was about military readiness. This is about unit cohesion. This was about resources within the military and nothing more.
Guys, I really don't have anything else to add on that topic. As I do, I'll keep you posted. But if those are the only questions we have, I'm going to call it a day. But if we have questions on other topics, I'll be happy to take those.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sarah, I'm sorry, I wanted to finish. Everyone had a second. On the morale on the Cabinet, Anthony Scaramucci this morning on "NEW DAY" said that the Cabinet secretaries need to have tough skin. How is the president working with the Cabinet secretaries right now? How does he build their morale after all of this with Sessions? And we're hearing things that are coming out of state about Rex Tillerson. How is the president working on their morale?
SANDERS: I think the same way he works with all of us. He empowers us to do our jobs, and I don't think it matters whether you're a Cabinet secretary, a low level staffer, we're here to do a job. He's asked us to do it and he expects us to get it done and I've spent a good bit of time with quite a few Cabinet secretaries over the last couple days and the morale is high.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: One more point about transgender service members. Not here in this country but overseas and there are 18 countries where transgender members are allowed to serve openly. The UK is one. Australia is another. Israel is a third.
The president's tweet this morning referred to disruptions. What does he mean? And is he concerned that there are disruptions in our allies' militaries, in Australia, in the UK and Israel? And should we worry about that from a military standpoint?
SANDERS: As I said earlier, this decision was made after extensive discussions with his National Security team and the president decided it was in the best interest of the military to end this Obama policy. I can't speak to anything about another country. Pretty focused on making sure we get good things happening here. Zeke?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: First off, you were talking earlier about Attorney General Jeff Sessions to be doing in his job right now. Why hasn't the president picked up the phone or invited him over into the Oval Office? Does the president have any intention of speaking with the attorney general this week?
SANDERS: I'll keep you posted if he does. John?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sorry, second question on the transgender service member issue. You mentioned the president reach this decision to improve or maintain unit cohesion. How does it maintain or improve unit cohesion when you have thousands of service members, some who may be overseas, serving in units overseas, in the dark about their status with the military?
SANDERS: Once again this was a decision made after the consultation with his national security team and decided the best decision. Alex?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I want to ask you about a tweet the president had on Sunday. He said, "It's very sad that Republicans, even some that I've carried over the line on my back, do very little to protect their president." Which Republicans is the president talking about and what would he like to see from them? What sort of protection?
SANDERS: I'm not going to call out any senators by name up here today, but I think the president is very committed to a robust agenda and changing America for the better, and Republicans have both the House and Senate. He's hoping they'll join him in pushing forward. A lot of the policies that most of those people campaigned on, like repealing and replacing Obamacare.
I think that's a perfect example of Republicans needing to step up to commitments that they made during the campaign and since being elected, and get those things done.
Guys, I hate to cut it short. The president's got an event. As I know you can all hear by all of the cheering children, I hope that we can join together in welcoming the boys and girls from (INAUDIBLE). Thanks, guys.
BALDWIN: And we'll take that event live when it happens at the White House. Sarah Huckabee Sanders there.
Really two main topics that dominated discussion there, one being what's going on still with the president publicly belittling, over Twitter, his current AG, and then two, what is the deal with these tweets from the president today, which really blindsided even the Department of Defense when it comes to reinstating this ban on transgender individuals serving in the U.S. military.
So, David Chalian, let me just open this up to you, beginning on the Sessions issue, and I think the news that was made there was hearing Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying the president can be disappointed in someone but still want him on the job and saying that they hadn't talked at least in the last week.
Disappointed, still wants him in the job. How do you reconcile that.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: It's hard to do so because that sort of now begs the question with every one of Attorney General Session's actions serving in President Trump's Cabinet, are now still disappointed with that, sir? Are you still disappointed with that? It's a very odd construct.
Obviously Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not want to move beyond any of the language that President Trump has already said about AG Sessions. We've learned that they did not talk at all this week. That much was clear.