Republican presidential aspirant Mike Huckabee believes transgender soldiers will make the military into a "social organization," and that providing access to gender-affirming surgeries is like providing breast enhancement for a woman who wants to be "a 38D rather than a 34A."
Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, made the remarks to host J.D. Hayworth on right-wing Newsmax TV's Newsmax Prime show in an interview broadcast Wednesday. He was reacting to fellow candidate Jeb Bush's comment that he's OK with allowing transgender military members to serve openly as long as it doesn't hurt morale.
"It's naive to think that it doesn't affect morale," Huckabee said. "Men are men, and women are women." The idea of open service by trans soldiers, which will be allowed under an in-the-works change in Pentagon policy, is "absurd," he said, before recycling old arguments about the dangers of "social experiments" most recently used to try to thwart the 2011 repeal of the military's ban on out LGB troops known as "don't ask, don't tell."
"The military is not a social organization," he continued. "The military is not a place where we try out experiments. The military is designed to kill people and break things. The purpose of the military is to train a fighting force to defend this country and to fight our battles. It's not to fight the battles of sexual identity or orientation."
"Taxpayers are not responsible for paying for sex-change operations," he continued, going on to compare such operations to elective cosmetic surgeries: "We don't do breast enhancements, which would be a part of that. If we're going to do it for somebody who's transgender, would we not do it for a female who said, 'I'd feel better about myself if I was a 38D rather than a 34A?'"
Huckabee, who offended many in recent days by likening the proposed Iran nuclear arms treaty to the Holocaust, is the preferred presidential candidate of only about 5 percent of Republicans, according to an average of national polls, CNN reports. However, that's enough to put him in the top 10 of the crowded Republican field (now at 17 candidates), meaning he'll get a spot in the first prime-time debate, set for 9 p.m. August 6 on the Fox News Channel.
Watch his discussion of trans troops below, courtesy of Right Wing Watch.