Many conservatives who supported Donald Trump for president have celebrated his win, anticipating that the newly elected chief executive would roll back or rescind a number of his predecessor’s executive orders.
But one 2014 order signed by Barack Obama is staying in place, and that surviving legacy of the previous president is surprising some who thought the Trump administration would put it on the chopping block.
That particular Obama executive action put in place certain protections against anti-LGBT discrimination for people working for federal contractors.
In the weeks following the upset victory of the Trump-Pence ticket, there was occasionally frantic reporting in the mainstream media about what some considered were pending setbacks for so-called LGBT rights.
CNN went so far as to declare, “The election of Donald Trump and running mate Mike Pence set off panic in gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities across the country …”
The same CNN piece noted that while Trump was “regarded by some as one of the most ‘pro-LGBT’ Republican presidential nominees ever, who expressed sympathy for the LGBT community after the Orlando nightclub shooting, critics say his conservative advisers — Pence included — and the Republican party’s anti-LGBT platform are a threat to the progress made during the Obama administration.”
On Tuesday — despite persistent rumors that Obama’s 2014 LGBT anti-discrimination order might be overturned — the White House released a statement on the matter.
That statement declared that “President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community. President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election.”
In an interview with ABC News Sunday, Vice President Pence stood firmly behind the president’s decision to keep intact protections for federal workers.
Pence told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos:
“I think throughout the campaign, President Trump made it clear that discrimination would have no place in our administration.”
Bob Vander Plaats of the conservative group The Family Leader, Stephanopoulos pointed out, didn’t endorse Trump’s leaving in place Obama’s LGBT-focused executive order, saying the social conservative organization believes it’s a matter of “religious liberty” for employers.
Nevertheless, the vice president said Trump’s decision was in keeping with his campaign message. (See video below. The segment on the decision not to rescind Obama’s 2014 executive order starts about the 7:20 mark.)
Pence praised Trump, remarking, “I think the generosity of his spirit, recognizing that in the patriot’s heart, there’s no room for prejudice, is part of who this president is.”
Some conservatives expressed dismay at Trump’s decision to keep the Obama order in place.
Conservative radio talk show host Erick Erickson said it was a broken promise.
“On the campaign trail, President Trump made two promises to evangelical Christians,” Erickson said. “He promised he would nominate to the Supreme Court someone in the mold of Antonin Scalia. President Trump also promised to reverse a Barack Obama executive order that prioritizes the gay left’s agenda at the expense of helping the poor. He kept the first, but he has broken the latter.”
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