SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Aug. 29, 2019 – Palm Center director Aaron Belkin released the following statement today reacting to former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’s stated concern about America’s “internal divisiveness”: 

Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will be remembered not for combating divisiveness but for sowing it through the policy banning transgender military service that bears his name.

Mattis claims his biggest concern about America today is ‘internal divisiveness…fueled by emotion and a mutual disdain that jeopardizes our future.’ Yet Mattis’s willingness to divide his own military force by cowing to Donald Trump’s call to ban transgender troops from service makes this claim the height of hypocrisy.

The Pentagon report on the subject that Mattis oversaw and signed was based on falsehoods and distortions that provoked the condemnation of the American Medical Association and a panel of former military Surgeons General who noted that it ‘mischaracterized the medical research that sustains’ its recommendation for a ban.

This report and the transgender ban will forever tarnish Mattis’s name.

The Palm Center is an independent, non-partisan research institute that conducts scholarly analysis of U.S. military personnel policy, with an emphasis on LGBT populations. Our research has been published in leading scholarly journals and our expert analysis is regularly covered in all forms of media worldwide. In providing clear explanations of key data and developments in our reports, memos, statements, op-eds, blog, and social media, we serve as a trusted resource for journalists, policymakers, service members, scholars, students, and the public. For more information, visit