Esteemed President Donald J. Trump reportedly joined Attorney General Jeff Sessions in personally pressuring Education Secretary Betsy DeVos into a new policy that will prevent transgender high school students from using the bathrooms of their choice.
DeVos, who, surprisingly enough, supports gay rights, did not want to sign off on the new order, which will reverse Obama’s 2016 directive ordering schools to grant students access to their choice of bathroom. The new order has not yet been made public, but the Times got a copy of the draft, which cites “confusion” over Obama’s directive as justification for new rules.
But according to the Times, Trump and Sessions—who opposes same-sex marriage and gays in the military and pretty much every other measure that might protect or help gays—fought DeVos to ensure she’d sign off.
Ms. DeVos initially resisted signing off on the order and told President Trump that she was uncomfortable with it, according to three Republicans with direct knowledge of the internal discussions. The draft order would reverse the directives put in place last year by the Obama administration to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice.
Mr. Sessions, who strongly opposes expanding gay, lesbian and transgender rights, fought Ms. DeVos on the issue and pressed her to relent because he could not go forward without her consent. The order must come from the Justice and Education Departments.
Mr. Trump sided with his attorney general, these Republicans said, telling Ms. DeVos in a meeting in the Oval Office on Tuesday that he wanted her to drop her objections. And Ms. DeVos, faced with the choice of resigning or defying the president, has agreed to go along. The Justice Department declined to comment on Wednesday.
Politico confirmed the Times report, citing a Republican source who claims, “What I have heard is that Secretary DeVos’ preference would’ve been to have a notice of comment period on this rather than just rescinding the policy effective immediately.”
That Sessions would want to claw back protections for transgender students makes perfect sense, given his history and cold, dead eyes, but Trump’s sudden support is another story. Less than a year ago, he declared on the campaign trail that he didn’t care who used which bathrooms and invited Caitlin Jenner to pee wherever she wanted at Trump Tower, an offer she accepted. Incredibly, no one was injured, which cannot be said for the transgender population which faces an extraordinarily high risk of suicide. On the other hand, Trump has accomplished the seemingly impossible—making Betsy DeVos, his tightest and most expensive confirmation vote so far, look good.