Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner Pushed Trump to Enforce Obama LGBT Order
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have been pushing back against conservatives in the Trump administration who want to defend religious liberty, Politico reported on Friday. Their influence could have a wide-ranging and lasting impact on the ability of Christians and other religious Americans to practice their faith without government interference.
Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump helped lead the charge to scuttle a draft executive order that would have overturned Obama-era enforcements of LGBT rights in the workplace, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation told POLITICO.
A draft executive order on LGBT rights that outlines how to roll back former President Barack Obama’s protections and expand legal exemptions based on religious beliefs has been circulating among journalists and worried progressive groups this week.
But two sources close to Kushner and Ivanka Trump, who have a record of supporting gay rights, said the couple favored putting out a clear statement from the president, promising to uphold the 2014 Obama executive order and stopping the momentum for the turnaround in its tracks.
It appears that "enforcement of LGBT rights in the workplace"—a euphemism for using government force to make people violate their religious beliefs—has become a source of conflict within the Trump administration. On one side are staunch social conservatives like Vice President Mike Pence, an evangelical who backed a religious liberty law in his home state of Indiana before backing away from it after a nationwide backlash and threats of boycotts. On the other side of the issue are more liberal members of the administration, including Trump's daughter and son-in-law.
White House officials are downplaying reports of a draft executive order, describing it as one of 200 that have been considered during the transition. “Some are real, some are drafts of things people like, and some are ideas people from outside have suggested,” one official told Politico.
"There are a lot of ideas that are being floated out," White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in his Thursday briefing when asked about the rumored order. "Part of it is, the president does all the time, he asks for input, he asks for ideas, and on a variety of subjects there are staffing procedures that go on where people have a thought or an idea and it goes through the process."
Apparently on Ivanka and Kushner's advice, Trump dealt a blow to religious liberty this week when the White House released a statement saying that he will not rescind President Obama's 2014 executive order making LGBT a protected class in government hiring and employment. "The executive order signed in 2014, which protects employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors, will remain intact at the direction of President Donald J. Trump," the statement read.