Politics

Trump Just Misgendered Chelsea Manning — Calling Her a ‘Young Gentleman’

Donald Trump on Monday defended his intervention in the cases of three service members implicated in war crimes, asserting that he was “sticking up” for America’s armed forces amid an escalating controversy over the ouster of his Navy secretary.

“There’s never been a president that’s going to stick up for them, and has, like I have,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, charging that “some very unfair things were happening” and touting his administration’s increases in defense spending.

The president went on to contrast his recent interference in the military justice system with the treatment of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and Chelsea Manning, a whistleblower and former Army intelligence analyst.

“You let Sgt. Bergdahl go, you let others go, including a young gentlemen — now a person — who President Obama let go who stole tremendous amounts of classified information,” he said, referring to Manning.

Chelsea Manning is a trans woman, presents as a woman and uses female pronouns. Trump referring to Manning as “a young gentleman…now a person” is wrong.

Manning, who rose to prominence in 2010 after passing along hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and military reports to WikiLeaks, was convicted by court-martial in 2013, but former President Barack Obama commuted her 35-year sentence in 2017.

“So when you have Chelsea Manning, who stole classified information and did many, many things that were not good, and gets pardoned, or whatever happened, and you have a Sgt. Bergdahl who gets virtually nothing happens, a slap on the wrist, and then they want to put these warriors in jail for 25 years,” Trump said Monday.

“One of them, Lorance, served six years in jail, had many years left as a fighter,” he continued. “No, we’re not going to do that to our people.”

1st Lt. Clint Lorance was one of a pair of Army officers to whom the president granted full pardons earlier this month, along with Maj. Mathew Golsteyn. Trump also restored Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher’s rank of chief petty officer.

Lorance was serving a 19-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., after being found guilty on two counts of murder in 2013. Prosecutors said he ordered troops to open fire on three Afghan men riding a motorcycle who approached his patrol in 2012.

Golsteyn was being prosecuted on one count of premeditated murder after twice acknowledging that during his deployment to Afghanistan in 2010 he killed an unarmed detainee suspected of being a Taliban bombmaker — first during a polygraph test for a job interview with the CIA in 2011, and then in a 2016 interview with Fox News.

Gallagher was acquitted in July of murdering a wounded teenage prisoner of war in Iraq, but was convicted of posing with the corpse and demoted.

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