President Trump is banning transgender people from serving in the military in a bid to "help those people," presidential aide Sebastian Gorka said on Friday.
Gorka, in an interview with BBC Radio 4 Today, cited studies showing that the transgender community has a 40 percent suicide rate. "That is a tragedy. We need to help those people.
"We don't need to help try and force them into the hierarchical military environment where they are under the utmost pressure to kill or be killed," Gorka said. "That is why the president is doing this out of the warmth of his consideration for this population."
He also said the U.S. military is not there to represent or reflect America, but rather "to kill people and blow stuff up."
"They are not there to be socially engineered," Gorka said. "We want people who are transgender to live happy lives. But we want unit cohesion and we want combat effectiveness."
Trump sent out a series of tweets on Wednesday announcing his decision to ban transgender people from serving in the military, which sparked criticism and reportedly took the Pentagon by surprise. The Pentagon has since said it will await official guidance from the White House before it will make any moves to boot transgender people from the military.
Last year, the Pentagon declared transgender service members could serve openly, and directed the services to come up with policies to admit transgender recruits by July 1. That deadline was extended on June 30.