Trump announced the ban on Twitter Wednesday morning, writing that the military needed to focus on victory and “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
But protesters countered that a ban would infringe on transgender people’s civil rights.
Yael Leberman, 24, said she had three brothers who served in the Israeli military, where transgender people serve openly.
"To say trans people can't contribute to the military is bullsh--t," said Leberman, who is gender nonconforming. "It's just bullsh--t."
Vietnam veteran Christopher Countey, 70, said he was angered Trump made the announcement on the 69th anniversary of President Harry Truman integrating the military.
“He’s a coward because he avoided the draft by getting a note from a corrupt doctor,” Countey added.
“He’s a traitor because he and his campaign have colluded with an enemy of this country to influence the democratic process."
The announcement came while the Senate was in the midst of voting on Affordable Care Act replacement plans.
City Councilman Corey Johnson said he thought transgender people were being used as "scapegoats" to distract from Trump's failures in office like not yet being able to repeal the ACA.
"This is not just an attack on trans service members," Johnson said. "This is an attack on the entire United States military by this president.”