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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  • Rescinded protection guidance for transgender LGBT students.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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OPINION

Chris Wallace ‘Sad’ How Debate ‘Turned Out’: ‘Never Dreamt That It Would Go Off the Tracks’

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Chris Wallace, the Fox News anchor who more than most at the right wing cable network stands up to President Donald Trump, was exceptionally passive in his moderation of the first presidential debate of 2020.

He was equally passive in how he discussed and described his performance.

“I’m just sad with the way last night turned out,” Wallace passively told The New York Times’ Michael Grynbaum.

“I never dreamt that it would go off the tracks the way it did,” he continued, appearing to take no responsibility for what was overwhelmingly described on social media Tuesday night as a “shit show.”

Continuing down the path of passivity, Wallace lamented it was “a terrible missed opportunity.”

“I’ve read some of the reviews, I know people think, Well, gee, I didn’t jump in soon enough,” he added. “I guess I didn’t realize — and there was no way you could, hindsight being 20/20 — that this was going to be the president’s strategy, not just for the beginning of the debate but the entire debate.”

There in fact was every reason to believe Trump would do what he did Tuesday night – bully, attack, threaten, lie, talk over his opponent, talk over the moderator, refuse to answer direct questions, and embarrass the nation – because he’s done it before, to varying degrees.

“I’m a pro. I’ve never been through anything like this,” Wallace says.

He also refused to blame the president for destroying the entire debate.

Asked directly if Mr. Trump had derailed the debate, Mr. Wallace replied, “Well, he certainly didn’t help.”

Care to elaborate? “No,” Mr. Wallace said. “To quote the president, ‘It is what it is.’”

Wallace seems keenly aware of the power of public opinion, and clearly allowed that to impact his role.

“People have to remember, and too many people forget, both of these candidates have the support of tens of millions of Americans.”

The heads of Fox News, the Murdoch family, praised Wallace, issued a memo supporting him, and toasted him.

Wallace does not seem to have any regrets.

“Generally speaking, I did as well as I could, so I don’t have any second thoughts there,” Mr. Wallace said, in conclusion. “I’m just disappointed with the results. For me, but much more importantly, I’m disappointed for the country, because it could have been a much more useful evening than it turned out to be.”

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AT THE VERY LEAST

Debate Commission Will Let Moderators Cut Candidates’ Mics

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After President Donald Trump wholly ignored both the debate rules he agreed to and the moderator he agree to, the Committee on Presidential Debates said it would examine options to get control him.

They have.

The Commission will allow future debate moderators to cut candidates’ microphones if they deem necessary, according to CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell.

That would be one option of several moderators can expect to be given – it’s unclear if the candidates will have to agree to the updated rules.

The Commission issued a statement Wednesday in response to the disaster caused by President Trump. The organization said Tuesday’s “debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues.”

They have vowed they “are going to be making changes” to avoid a replay of last night’s out of control catastrophe.

President Trump turned the debate into what many called a “shit show.”

 

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News

Federal Judge Orders Barr to Release Redacted Portions of Mueller Report

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A federal judge has ordered the Dept. of Justice to publish redacted portions of the Mueller report after determining Attorney General Bill Barr had not met his burden to satisfy keeping the information privileged.

“Based on the Court’s review of the unredacted version of the Mueller Report, the Court concludes that the Department has failed to satisfy its burden to demonstrate that the withheld material is protected by the deliberative process privilege,” U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton wrote, as The Hill reports.

The redactions are important. They detail the process by which Mueller’s team decided to charge or not charge individuals with crimes. The full extent of who that includes in the report is not known, but there was great discussion after the report was released about why President Donald Trump had not been charged.

Judge Walton was appointed by President George W. Bush.

This is a breaking news and developing story. 

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