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DeVos Opposes Trump Order That Will Rescind Obama Guidance on Transgender Students, but Caves to Sessions

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DeVos Faced With Decision of Openly Defying President or Resigning

Discussions within the Trump administration over the language of the draft executive order expected to be issued Wednesday by President Trump, which reverses guidance on protections for transgender students, got heated in arguments between Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, according to senior officials in the administration. The executive order would rescind the guidance issued last year by the Obama administration, which directed that transgender students be able to use the restrooms that correspond with their gender identity.

A senior official confirmed to NCRM that a piece published Wednesday by the New York Times detailing the disagreement between the Education Secretary and the Attorney General was accurate.

The paper reported that three Republicans with direct knowledge of the internal discussions in the administration over the executive order said that Secretary DeVos initially resisted signing off on it, telling President Trump that “she was uncomfortable with it.” Sessions, who has a long history of opposing equality rights for the LGBTQI community, fought her on the issue, pressuring her to back down and relent. According to one official, the order needed to come from both executive departments and Sessions was angry as he would be unable to move forward without Ms. DeVos’ approval. 

Trump backed the attorney general and DeVos was faced with a decision of either openly defying the president or resigning. The Justice Department refused to comment as did a spokesperson for the Education Secretary Wednesday morning. Though the order from Trump is expected to be signed and then released later Wednesday, sources are telling the New York Times and NCRM that the two secretaries were still disputing the final language.

According to a draft of the letter, which was obtained by The New York Times, the Trump administration cites ongoing litigation and confusion over the Obama directives as a reason for telling schools to no longer obey the guidance, which was sent to public school districts in the form of a “Dear Colleague” letter last year.

“School administrators, parents and students have expressed varying views on the legal issues arising in this setting,” the Trump draft says. “They have also struggled to understand and apply the statements of policy and guidance” in the Obama orders.

The draft also contains language stating that schools must protect transgender students from bullying, a provision Ms. DeVos asked be included, one person with direct knowledge of the process said. “Schools must ensure that transgender students, like all students, are able to learn in a safe environment,” the letter says.

While on the campaign trail last year the president had signaled that he supported the rights of transgender people saying that they should “use the bathroom they feel is appropriate,” but later flip-flopped to toe the GOP line. In Tuesday’s press briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated that the “president has maintained for a long time that this is a states’ rights issue,” a stance endorsed and advocated for by the conservative Christian right movement.

The issue over transgender rights has also caused conflict on Capitol Hill as well, one congressional source telling NCRM that some prominent Republican lawmakers are actively advocating that the party move away from social issues that “are toxic,” instead focusing on economic and foreign policy issues.

Sessions wants set a firm policy particularly since Thursday the Justice Department will need to lay out its legal stance in a filing deadline in the case before the U.S. Supreme Court involving a transgender male Virginia high school student, Gavin Grimm.  Grimm had sued the Gloucester County Virginia School Board in 2015 after the school board ruled that he was banned from using the boys’ bathroom and told him he could use a separate bathroom in a converted janitors closet.

The Obama administration had rejected that decision as unacceptable and discriminatory siding with Grimm. The Times also noted that the department is eager to move quickly in laying out its legal position on transgender policy to avoid confusion in cases moving through the courts.

Brody Levesque is the Chief Political Correspondent for The New Civil Rights Movement.
You may contact Brody at Brody.Levesque@thenewcivilrightsmovement.com

To comment on this article and other NCRM content, visit our Facebook page.

 

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News

‘I Apologize for Interrupting Your Press Conference’: Tearful Texas Democrat Urges Greg Abbott to ‘Do Something’ on Guns

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The Texas Democratic State Senator who represents Uvalde stood up during Greg Abbott’s Friday afternoon press conference and almost begged the Republican Governor to “do something” about gun violence after Tuesday’s massacre at Robb Elementary School that took 21 lives.

Abbott was trying to place the blame for the school shooting on mental health despite the gunman having no documented issues, and told attendees, “we’re focusing our attention on the wrong thing.”

That was not good enough for Democratic State Senator Roland Gutierrez, who politely introduced himself and said, “I’m not making a political speech.”

“My colleagues are asking for a special session, you’re getting a letter tomorrow,” from the Senate Democratic Caucus.

“We’ve asked for gun control changes – I’m asking you now, bring us back in three weeks.”

Gutierrez grew emotional, sounding as if he was choking up, and added, “I apologize for interrupting your press conference about the needs of this community. I’ve been here for three days with all of these elected officials – this county judge has been working his ass off,” he continued.

“I don’t know how to express the loss of the families that I’ve talked to,” he added.

“You have to do something, man,” Gutierrez said, all but begging the governor to take action, and saying his “own colleagues are calling me and telling me this is enough.”

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Watch: Right Wing Host at NRA Convention Likens 18 Year Olds Buying Guns to 3rd Graders Deciding Gender

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A host from a right-wing streaming service covering the NRA convention in Houston decided to compare conservatives’ growing active opposition to the rights and existence of transgender people, to the majority of Americans demanding expanded gun control legislation.

“We are being told by the left that a third-grader has the knowledge to determine if they were born a boy or they were born a girl, whether or not they want to stay that gender that they were born with,” said Brian Glenn, Right Side Broadcasting’s director of programming and correspondent.

“And if we feel like at a third grade you can make decisions on your gender, then I think by the time you’re 18 you should have enough maturity – assuming you’re not a complete psychopath – to buy a handgun and exercise your Second Amendment.”

Of course, that hypothetical third-grader is harming exactly no one and later can reverse that decision if they choose, which the vast majority do not.

That hypothetical 18-year old, or, in the case of this week’s horrific tragedy, an actual 18-year old, buying two AR-15 style assault weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition within three days of their 18th birthday, gunning down 21 people including 19 elementary school children, cannot reverse any of those decisions.

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News

Local Texas Cops Blocked Specialized Federal Tactical Team That Killed Shooter From Engaging for One Hour

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When a specially equipped U.S. Border Patrol tactical team arrived on the scene of Tuesday’s school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, local police who were already on the scene wouldn’t allow them to engage with the shooter, The New York Times reports.

“The agents from Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrived at some point between 12 p.m. and 12:10 p.m., according to the officials — far earlier than previously known,” The Times’ report stated. “But they did not breach the adjoining classrooms of the school where the gunman had locked himself in until a little before 1 p.m. Members of the federal tactical team killed the gunman.”

But officials speaking to The Times say the Uvalde Police Department prevented the agents from going in sooner.

The new details further call into the question the thinking behind how law enforcement responded to the shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers. The Border Patrol and ICE agents say they did not understand why they were force to wait. All of the 21 victims died in the area where 18-year-old Salvador Ramos had barricaded himself in.

IN OTHER NEWS: Christian summer camp ‘rebuked’ girls who reported assault and told them to ‘forgive’ assailant: report

Read the full report at The New York Times.

 

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