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Montel Williams served in the nation’s armed services for 15 years — first in the Marines, then in the Navy. The former talk show host and retired Navy officer is an outspoken supporter of military veterans, and he was not happy about President Trump’s early morning declaration banning transgender individuals from serving in the military.

When asked about his initial reaction to President Trump’s tweets, Williams told Rare, “Here’s a guy who refused to serve and put a uniform on, claiming to have a physical reason he could not serve. In his own book, he laughs about the fact that he got away with it and that he was able to do other things while other people had to go off and defend this democracy.”

RELATED: Trump tweeted his intent to ban transgender people from the military

The former naval officer added, “This guy is now going to determine who gets to bleed to defend our democracy. We go back sixty years ago, African-Americans couldn’t defend this democracy, women couldn’t defend this democracy, gays couldn’t defend this democracy.”

Montel Williams shifts his attitude toward “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

Williams joined the military before gay men and women could openly serve. Though he initially did not support repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” he told Rare that eventually his attitude toward the policy shifted. “My views then were completely askew with the views of my religion and my heart — that is, I treat everybody on this planet with respect … if you’re an American citizen, you have a right to serve in this military.”

RELATED: The legality of President Trump’s suggested ban on transgender service members is already being challenged

Trump said the “tremendous” cost of gender reassignment surgeries would “burden” the military, but Williams responded, “That’s a bold-faced lie. It’s nothing more than a canard.” He added, “For the U.S. military, the cost of surgery and cost of medication is equivalent to the cost of any other surgery. Cost doesn’t go up in the military — it’s a flat rate. Soldiers are operated on at DOD hospitals. The cost of transgender surgery is no different than it would be for treating a soldier like myself who had muscular sclerosis.”

Montel Williams says soldiers should be able to have gender-reassignment surgery

Williams told Rare he thinks the military should pay for gender-reassignment surgery. “Absolutely, if the military pays for any other medical procedure, from cancer to hip replacement to knee replacement to impotence and impotence drugs. If they cough up the money for that, they can cough up the money for anything.”

RELATED: Two months before her father called for a ban on transgender military members, Ivanka Trump praised their community

Rare went on to ask Williams why the military should pay for gender reassignment surgery when in-vitro fertilization remains uncovered. “The two have nothing to do with each other. These are not religious implications. You don’t have to get pregnant — you may want to get pregnant. Even in Heaven there were some who bore fruit and others were asked to do so for them. In vitro fertilization is a want. Gender-reassignment is a need.”

RELATED: Montel Williams unloads on Donald Trump for his comments about McCain

Montel Williams comments on Trump’s tweets about transgender people’s “burden” on the military Danny Johnston / Associated Press
Alex Thomas About the author:
Alex is from Delaware. He lives in DC.
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