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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

‘Very Bad News for Chauvin’: Legal Expert Weighs in on Jurors Having Reached a Verdict So Quickly in Murder Trial

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Jurors have reached a verdict, less than 24 hours after the trial of Derek Chauvin concluded. Chauvin is charged with the killing of George Floyd, and faces three charges.

The verdict is expected to be announced in about an hour.

Former federal prosecutor Renatto Marioitti says this is “very bad news for Chauvin.”

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.

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RIGHT WING HYPOCRISY

McEnany Lectures Biden: ‘It’s the Role of the President of the United States to Stay Back, to Not Inflame’

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Former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Tuesday blasted President Joe Biden for speaking out about the Derek Chauvin trial even though her former boss, Donald Trump, often expressed his opinion on similar events.

After the sequestered jury began its deliberations in the Chauvin trial, Biden told reporters that he was praying for the “right verdict.”

McEnany, in her role as Fox News host, criticized the current president.

“I’m glad that he at least waited until the jury was sequestered,” McEnany ranted. “But I think that the country is such a tinderbox right now, especially Minneapolis. There’s so much hurt, so much pain.”

And I think it’s the role of the president of the United States to stay back, to not inflame the tensions,” she added. “I think he should have just reserved comment and said he’s praying for the family as we all are.”

As president, Trump often weighed in on legal matters and controversial events.

After Kyle Rittenhouse was charged with homicide for shootings that left two protesters in Wisconsin dead last August, Trump offered a defense of the suspect.

“He was trying to get away from them, I guess, it looks like,” Trump opined at the time. “I guess he was in very big trouble. He probably would have been killed.”

Watch the video below from Fox News.

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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ANALYSIS

Republicans Planning to Force Censure Vote Against Maxine Waters – Here’s How It Could Backfire: Report

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Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is set on forcing a vote in the House on his resolution to censure Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA). There’s little chance it will pass, and Democrats might be able to block it before he’s able to force a vote, but regardless it very easily could backfire against them, according to Politico.

Republicans in the House and Senate are claiming to be furious after Waters went to Minnesota to talk with Black Lives Matter protestors and told them if former police officer Derek Chauvin is not found guilty of killing George Floyd they must “stay on the street” and become “more confrontational.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is falsely claiming Waters is inciting violence, and she’s moving to expel the California Democrat, which also will not happen.

Others, like House Republican Minority Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday falsely claimed Waters was “trying to incite violence and, in fact, there is violence going on right now in Minnesota because of her actions.”

Republicans are trying to inflate Waters’ comments and use them against Democrats. The National Republican Congressional Committee “is already planning to use this vote to tie moderate Democrats to Waters, according to spokesman Michael Mcadams,” Politico reports.

Politico says if Republicans go ahead with this plan it “could also trigger Democratic action as well.”

Many House Democrats are still furious about the January 6 insurrection, and that they’re forced to work “alongside apologists to an insurrection.”

“Tensions remain high in the House after Jan. 6, with Democrats privately lamenting that they’re working alongside apologists to an insurrection. Democratic leadership has privately worked to persuade many of these frustrated members to hold back on forcing votes rebuking their GOP colleagues to try to lower the temperature in Washington. They may be less restrained after the GOP-led vote on Waters.”

Democrats could force action against some of the extremists, or resuscitate what had appeared to be an all-but-dead January 6 House Commission, something Speaker Pelosi just brought up again, as did a New York Times editorial board member.

 

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