White House: Trump will enforce LGBTQ workplace protections

The White House said early Tuesday that President Trump will continue to enforce an Obama-era executive order protecting the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community in the workplace.

“President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community,” said a statement from his press secretary’s office. “President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election.”

The administration said Trump is proud to have been the first GOP presidential candidate to mention the LGBTQ community in his nomination acceptance speech, “pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression.”

{mosads}“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 White House said.

Trump promised to protect the rights of the LGBTQ community during his speech at the Republican National Convention in July.

“As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology,” he said, as he officially accepted the GOP nomination.

The nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization, however, said that Trump is setting a “low bar” by not overturning his predecessor’s order. 

“LGBTQ refugees, immigrants, Muslims and women are scared today, and with good reason. Donald Trump has done nothing but undermine equality since he set foot in the White House,” Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said in a statement on Tuesday. “Donald Trump has left the key question unanswered — will he commit to opposing any executive actions that allow government employees, taxpayer-funded organizations or even companies to discriminate?”

Griffin also criticized Vice President Pence and Trump’s selection for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), saying the president “talks a big game on his support for LGBTQ people, yet he has filled his cabinet with people who have literally spent their careers working to demonize us and limit our rights.”

“You can’t claim to be an ally when you send LGBTQ refugees back to countries where their lives are at risk. You can’t claim support and then rip away life-saving services made possible through the Affordable Care Act for transgender people and those living with HIV or AIDS. You can’t be a friend to this community and appoint people to run the government who compare being gay to bestiality,” he added.

Bloomberg reported on Monday that Obama’s order was more likely to be amended than rescinded.

“It may be more likely that President Donald Trump will broaden its religious exemption than outright rescind the order,” according to the report.

The White House announcement follows a weekend of protests throughout the country over Trump’s executive order imposing a temporary ban on nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries entering the United States.

The order, signed Friday, calls for a 90-day ban on nationals from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan entering the U.S. The order also includes a 120-day ban on admitting refugees and an indefinite halt on accepting refugees from Syria.

The fallout from the order, which has been criticized by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers, has already created a hectic second week for the president, who late Monday night fired his acting attorney general and replaced the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Mallory Shelbourne and Mike Lillis contributed to this report, which was updated at 8:08 a.m.

Tags Donald Trump Jeff Sessions

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