Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Valentina (@valzarya) here. Donald Trump reinstates the transgender military ban, another MPW is rumored to be a candidate for Uber CEO, and Laurene Powell Jobs is investing in VR. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
• Bringing back a ban. The biggest news story yesterday was, of course, President Trump’s reversal of a policy under former President Barack Obama that allowed transgender people to serve in the military. “The United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” the president tweeted.
Trump’s reason for reinstating the ban is that allowing transgender people to serve in the military would bring “tremendous medical costs and disruption.” Yet a 2016 study commissioned by the Pentagon itself contradicts the president’s rationale, finding that the medical costs for transgender military members would be an “exceedingly small portion of active-component health care expenditures” (between .005% and .017% of the department’s overall health care costs).
A number of high-profile trans women spoke out against the ban:
Caitlyn Jenner: “There are 15,000 patriotic transgender Americans in the US military fighting for all of us. What happened to your promise to fight for them?” Jenner is referring to President Trump’s campaign promise to “fight” for the LGBT community.
Laverne Cox: “This latest reversal of another Obama administration policy continues to send the message to trans Americans that our lives, our safety and service are less valuable and unwanted in this country, the country I love and hold so dear,” the actress said in a statement.
Chelsea Manning: The military leaker tweeted her confusion over why covering the medical expenses of “a few trans people” would make a significant dent in the military budget, pointing to the skyrocketing costs of the F-35 aircraft program. “Sounds like cowardice,” she wrote.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Pointing fingers, snatching knots. Donald Trump singled out Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski Wednesday morning for “[letting] the Republicans, and our country, down yesterday.” She was one of two Republicans to vote against a critical procedural step in addressing Obamacare on Tuesday and one of nine GOP senators to vote against a bill to repeal and replace the law that ultimately failed. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.), for one, defended Trump’s criticism of Murkowski by saying someone needs to go to the Senate and “snatch a knot in their ass.” (Urban Dictionary defines this as: “To hit someone, usually used in a threat of punishment or retribution.”) Fortune
• What’s up with Whitman? Two pieces of news about Hewlett Packard Enterprise chief Meg Whitman (No. 7 on Fortune‘s list of Most Powerful Women). First: She is stepping down from the board of HP Inc. Whitman has chaired the company’s board since the fall of 2015, when HP Inc. and HPE split into two independent companies. Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that Whitman has recently been meeting with Uber’s leadership and is among the six candidates on the short list to replace the ride-hailing app’s former CEO Travis Kalanick.
• Decoding DeVos. In this fascinating deep dive, New York Magazine‘s Lisa Miller attempts to answer the question, “Who is Betsy DeVos?” She takes us from DeVos’s familial roots (she’s the daughter of a billionaire) to what sparked her passion for education reform (a visit to a private Christian school for disadvantaged kids). In the words of John Engler, the Republican former governor of Michigan: “She knows what she believes and thinks and has both the will and the resources to pursue the things that she’s interested in.” New York Magazine
• Fueling the future of work. Jacquelline Fuller, president of Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, announced a $50 million initiative to study and prepare “for the changing nature of work” in a blog post Wednesday. The organization’s goal, Fuller writes, is to “make sure that as many people as possible can make the most of the new jobs, industries and opportunities that are emerging—some of which we couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago.” Recode
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• What hurt Michelle most. In an on-stage interview at the Women’s Foundation of Colorado’s 30th-anniversary event on Tuesday night, former First Lady Michelle Obama revealed just how hurt she was by the racist attacks she endured while in office, including being called an “ape in heels” by a former West Virginia official. What stings most was “knowing that after eight years of working really hard for this country, there are still people who won’t see me for what I am because of my skin color,” she said. Motto
• Jobs invests in VR. Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective led a $40 million fundraising round in virtual reality company Within. The nonprofit was founded by Steve Jobs’ widow with the mission of supporting education, immigration, the environment and other social justice initiatives. Bloomberg
• Bots reveal bias. If a picture’s worth a thousand words, these three charts about gender distribution in AI applications are worth much, much more. One stat to consider: While 67% of AI assistants are “female,” just 22% of roles in movies about AI are given to women. Quartz
• The Incredible Jessica Williams. A flurry of interviews with former Daily Show correspondent and 2 Dope Queens co-host Jessica Williams went live yesterday, in advance of Friday’s Netflix premiere of her new film, The Incredible Jessica James. Williams has made a name for herself by unflinchingly addressing race relations and sexual harassment in her comedy; to say I’m excited to tune in this weekend is a major understatement.
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