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Trump Promised to ‘Fight For’ LGBT People but Now His Administration Is Working to Demolish Protections

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From Policy Reversals to Gay Staffers Removing Wedding Rings and Family Photos, Trump’s Administration Targets LGBT America

President Trump for a brief few days on the campaign trail promised the LGBT community during 2016’s Pride Month he would “fight for” them more than any other presidential candidate. Calling it a “sharp reversal from Obama-era policies,” a new report in Politico proves that promise has been broken.

Under President Trump, the federal government is working hard to demolish, dismantle, or roll back all of the hard-fought for LGBT protections created under the Obama Administration.

“It’s only a matter of time before all the gains made under the Obama administration are reversed under the Trump administration, for purposes that have nothing to do with public health and have everything to do with politics,” Johns Hopkins School of Public Health researcher Kellan Baker told Politico. Baker worked with the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) for over a decade.

HHS staff “have raised concerns” about “Trump appointees now in senior roles who had a history of anti-LGBT comments before joining the agency,” Politico reports. “Among them is Roger Severino, a former Heritage Foundation official who has said that the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision on same-sex marriage was ‘wrong’ and repeatedly warned of its consequences.”

“[S]ame-sex marriage was merely the start, not end, of the left’s LGBT agenda,” Severino wrote in May 2016, about 10 months before he was tapped by Trump to be the health department’s top civil rights official. “The radical left is using government power to coerce everyone, including children, into pledging allegiance to a radical new gender ideology over and above their right to privacy, safety, and religious freedom.”

The Trump administration has:

  • Rescinded protection guidance for transgender LGBT students.
  • froze a series of LGBT-friendly rules, including proposed new regulations to further ban discrimination in Medicare and Medicaid,” Politico notes.
  • Last year HHS blocked the public from viewing over 10,500 comments submitted in response to its proposed “faith-based” rule that would affect healthcare access for transgender patients, and access to abortion services.
  • Reassigned the Health and Human Services senior adviser for LGBT health.
  • Worked to remove questions about LGBT people from an annual HHS survey that is used to decide how to allocate over $3 billion in funding for seniors.
  • Worked to “correct” the 2020 Census by removing proposed inclusion of sexual orientation, gender identity.
  • Changed the HHS four-year strategic plan to “not make a single reference to LGBT health issues — a notable break from the two previous strategic plans, dating back to 2010,” Politico notes, adding: “political appointees ordered that the language be stripped from the document. The effort was spearheaded by Shannon Royce, the agency’s liaison with religious groups, who staff say also took steps to include other language favorable to Christian conservatives.”
  • Installed Charmaine Yoest, as the public affairs chief at HHS. Politico describes her as “a prominent anti-abortion leader who for years advocated against same-sex marriage and other LGBT issues. For instance, Yoest a decade ago said that same-sex couples shouldn’t be allowed to adopt children and that transgender individuals suffered from mental disorders.” (Yoest reportedly ill be leaving HHS.)
  • At the DOJ Attorney General Jeff Sessions has created an entire office to enable health care workers to file claims of anti-religious discrimination.

Trump hired for deputy general counsel at HHS a man who posted this tweet:

Politico also offers another example of discrimination and anti-LGBT animus, reporting the Trump administration has “fostered a climate” within the federal government “where six staffers who are LGBT described removing their wedding rings before coming to work in the morning, taking down photos of their partners and families or ultimately finding new jobs further away from certain political appointees. They did not want to be identified; two said they feared being reassigned for being gay.”

“When you have to hide a major part of who you are … it’s really debilitating,” one staffer told Politico. “I wish I had more courage to be out with these people.”

Image by Ted Eytan via Flickr and a CC license

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BREAKING NEWS

J6 Committee Announces Plan for Final Report

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The U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack is wrapping up its 17-month long investigation and has announced its plan for its final report.

Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) Wednesday evening told reporters the committee will issue a final report in two weeks, on December 21. A “formal presentation” will accompany the final report, Axios’ Andrew Solender reports.

What form the presentation will take is unclear. Presumably it will not be a primetime televised hearing.

READ MORE: In Angry Letter McCarthy Warns Thompson J6 Docs ‘Do Not Belong to You’ – After Defending Trump Taking Classified Info

CNN’s Annie Grayer adds the criminal referrals Thompson previously announced the committee would be making will also be released on the 21st.

Chairman Thompson told reporters, “there will be some form of public presentation. We haven’t decided exactly what that would be,” Grayer says.

NBC reporters say that date is “a bit later than the committee was hoping and it forced some members and staff to change holiday plans.”

READ MORE: Florida ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Author Indicted on Federal Fraud Charges: DOJ

“In addition to considering a referral involving former President Donald Trump,” NBC News reports, “the committee could offer contempt of Congress referrals for fellow members who have ignored its subpoenas, for witnesses it believes lied to its investigators and for individuals it believes attempted to intimidate witnesses in the probe.”

“The report will be a massive compilation of the work the committee has done for the last year and a half, outlining its findings and offering up recommendations and possible legislation to prevent something like the Jan. 6 attack from happening again. Thompson has said the document could be up to eight chapters.”

 

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BREAKING NEWS

Florida ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Author Indicted on Federal Fraud Charges: DOJ

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Florida Republican state lawmaker Joe Harding, the author of the highly-criticized and some say unconstitutional “Don’t Say Gay” law, has been indicted by a U.S. Dept. of Justice grand jury on federal fraud charges.

“A federal grand jury has returned a six-count indictment against Joseph Harding, 35, of Williston, Florida,” the Justice Dept. said in a press release, detailing an alleged scheme, which included obtaining “fraudulently created bank statements,” to defraud the U.S. Government’s Small Business Administration of $150,000.

The felony charges include wire fraud, money laundering, and making false statements.

The DOJ indictment also alleges, “Harding committed two acts of wire fraud by participating in a scheme to defraud the Small Business Administration (SBA) and for obtaining coronavirus-related small business loans by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, and for the purpose of executing such scheme, caused wire communications to be transmitted in interstate commerce.”

READ MORE: Florida Father Sues School for ‘Proselytizing’ in Favor of ‘Homosexual Lifestyles’ Under DeSantis Don’t Say Gay Law

Trial is scheduled for next month. DOJ says Harding could be subject to as many as 35 years in prison should he be found guilty on all charges.

Harding’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis not only signed into law but used, via his then-press secretary to further attacks on the LGBTQ community, doubled-down on one of his key components: outing LGBTQ children to their parents.

The legislation, technically named the “Parental Rights in Education” Act, prohibits “classroom instruction” on sexual orientation or gender identity in certain school grades, but as expected, has been seen as “confusing” and a total ban on any discussion of LGBTQ issues.

Making clear the legislation’s intent, Florida GOP lawmakers voted down an proposed by a Democrat that would require schools create a safe environment for LGBTQ children.

“Those are serious allegations of corruption,” Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith told Florida Politics, which first reported the news. “The courts will sort through that sordid mess but we know he’s made many false statements about the LGBTQ community. Florida parents are forced to navigate schools that are less safe for their children because Joe Harding’s political ambitions know no bounds.”

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.

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CRIME

‘Plot Thickens’: Trump Ally Claimed He No Longer Had Storage Facility Where Classified Docs Were Found – NYT Reporter

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People close to Donald Trump appear to have been misleading reporters as The Washington Post, The New York Times, and CNN all broke news regarding the stunning revelation more classified documents were found among items Trump had shipped from federal government offices to Florida – this time, to a storage facility in West Palm Beach.

The Washington Post broke the news that the Trump legal time had hired a third party to search for classified documents, after the Dept. of Justice remained unconvinced all classified documents Trump had removed from the White House had been retrieved or returned.

As it turned out, this latest batch, which The Post now reports were only two classified documents, had been shipped not from the White House but from a federal office building in Virginia Trump and his team had been using after he left the White House.

RELATED: ‘Are You Kidding Me?’ Legal Experts Stunned as More Trump Classified Docs Discovered – at a Florida Storage Facility

The Post in its initial story had reported its sources said no classified documents had been found. It later updated that report,  including the title of the article which now reads: “Items with classified markings found at Trump storage unit in Florida.”

“Trump’s lawyers have told the Justice Department that the outside team did not turn up any new classified information during their search of Bedminster and Trump Tower, according to people familiar with the process, and have said they utilized a firm that had expertise in searching for documents,” The Post added.

Outside of her reporting with Alan Feuer at The New York Times, Maggie Haberman noted the deception or lack of information her sources presented.

READ MORE: Far Right Republican Slammed by Raskin for Trying to Derail Respect for Marriage Bill with Failed Religious Amendment

“People close to the former president had insisted earlier Wednesday that no classified material had been found at any of the facilities,” Haberman tweeted, which turned out to be false.

“One person close to Trump previously insisted he didn’t have the storage facility anymore,” which was also false.

“The plot thickens,” observed constitutional law expert and retired Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe, “as more criminally mishandled classified documents turn up at yet another venue. Trump’s skeletons seem to be buried in an ever-expanding array of places.”

Attorney Teri Kanefield suggested there’s more to this story.

“The thing to remember about this rapidly shifting more-classified-documents story is that the information seems to be coming entirely from Team Trump,” she tweeted. “Something is going on . . . but we don’t know what.”

Indeed, noted national security attorney Brad Moss, after expressing shock over the finding of more classified documents, appeared to put the pieces of “why now” together.

“If I recall correctly, the 11th Circuit’s mandate in the MAL [Mar-a-Lago] docs case issues tomorrow. Trump has to not only appeal but also get an emergency stay before that or the Special Master process is officially dead.”

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