AP Tweet Falsely Implies Pentagon Defied Trump’s Orders on Transgender Ban

President Donald Trump / Getty Images

A Monday tweet from the Associated Press falsely implied the Pentagon was defying President Donald Trump by allowing transgender people to serve in the military.

The AP got nearly 17,000 retweets for a "BREAKING" news tweet claiming the Pentagon will allow transgender people to enlist in the military "despite Trump's opposition."

The AP's framing led both Trump supporters and opponents to believe the Pentagon was willfully defying the president's order.

But the AP's tweet failed to disclose that the Pentagon didn't decide to allow transgender individuals in the military. The announcement was instead a result of a court order blocking Trump's ban until it can be properly litigated.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly issued an injunction in late October, arguing there was "no support for the claim that the ongoing service of transgender people would have any negative effect on the military at all." On Monday, she declined a request from the Trump administration to lift the injunction based on the administration’s argument it needs more time to prepare to process new transgender recruits for military service.

As a result of the injunction, Defense Department officials on Monday said transgender people will be allowed to enlist in the military beginning Jan. 1.

National security and legal reporters on Twitter called out the AP's misleading framing.

Other outlets accurately reported the reason for the Pentagon's move. "Transgender People Will Be Allowed to Enlist in Military as Court Case Advances," reported The New York Times, while Fox News reported "Pentagon says transgender people can enlist starting in January, after court order."