U.S. President Donald Trump reportedly joined Attorney General Jeff Sessions in meeting with Betsy DeVos to personally pressure the Education Secretary into removing protections for transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity at school.
DeVos apparently did not want to sign off on the order, which will completely reverse former President Barack Obama’s directive which ordered schools to grant transgender students access to the bathroom of their choosing. Although the order is not yet public, the New York Times received a copy of the draft.
However, as the Times notes, both Trump and Sessions fought DeVos to be sure she’d sign off on the order.
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 corroborated the Times report with a Republican source that also stated, “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.”