Advocates for LGBT rights are looking to Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump to speak out against new guidelines that strip protection from trans students - and they’re coming up empty.
The new guidelines, published Wednesday, reverse an Obama-era ruling that high schools must allow transgender students to use the bathrooms matching their gender identities. Jewish groups have been outspoken critics of the new policy.
Kushner and Ivanka Trump were seen as instrumental in quashing an earlier Trump administration measure that would have rescinded workplace anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people, according to Politico. In its place, the two managed to secure a statement from the White House that pronounced the administration “determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community.”
But the couple have not publicly spoken out about the White House announcement that it was reneging on Obama-era guidelines from the Justice and Education Departments that ensured those rights.
That’s left some LGBT advocates disappointed.
“It seems to me that when you have to rely on Ivanka Trump to advocate for civil rights issues, that’s a problem,” Anthony Kreis, a law professor at the Chicago-Kent College of Law, told Politico. “What is her role here? There’s the deeper question, of whether we should have to rely on the president’s daughter to go toe to toe with the attorney general.”
“Yesterday’s actions really puts into question whether there are allies in this administration,” Chad Griffin, head of the Human Rights Campaign, told the news site. “It’s important to define what an ally is… An ally is someone who stands up, champions and fights for our community.”
In a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) demanded that he restore materials on combatting anti-Semitism to the State Department website had been deleted during the transition from the Obama administration.
The missing documents include a fact sheet on anti-Semitism, and issues of a newsletter put out by the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.
Those materials are still available on a cached version of the Obama-era State Department website.
“With anti-Semitic incidents on the rise in the U.S. and around the world, it is critical that valuable resources like these continue to be fully posted on the State Department’s website,” wrote Meng, who represents parts of Queens. “I eagerly await the Secretary’s reply and hope that this page will be completely restored soon.”
Activists and observers have complained about other deletions by Trump administration officials from federal government websites, including a page on climate change from the Environmental Protection Agency site.
Joseph Sitt, the founder of the global real estate firm Thor Equities, is the secretivebuyer of Brooklyn’s priciest residential property last year.
The $11.6 million house is in Gravesend, the seat of the Syrian Jewish community that Sitt was born into and to which he still belongs. The house is 5,000 square feet, and its price was pushed up by its proximity to several local synagogues. Sitt already lives in Gravesend, and the New York Post claimed he bought the home merely for tax purposes.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not going anywhere.
The 83-year-old Supreme Court Justice told the BBC “at my age, you have to take it year by year,” but has no plans of retiring early.
“My most senior colleague, the one who most recently retired, Justice John Paul Stevens, stepped down at age 90. So I have a way to go,” she said.
In an interview aired Thursday, Ginsburg said the “we are not experiencing the best times” and Congress “is right now not working,”
Nevertheless, she said, she is optimistic.
“The true symbol of the United States is not the bald eagle. It is the pendulum,” she said. “And when the pendulum swings too far in one direction it will go back.”
Last summer Ginsburg scoffed at Trump as a “faker,” comments she later said she regretted.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced new measures to combat anti-Semitic hate crimes and other bias incidents, days after the desecration of a Jewish cemetery in Missouri.
“There is no place for hate or discrimination or bigotry in New York,” the Democrat said, promising that his administration would set up a toll-free hotline to report hate crimes, dole out $5,000 in reward money for reports leading to hate crime convictions and request that state legislators budget $25 million for extra security and surveillance at religious schools. “Make no mistake. The threat is real, these are not isolated instances, there’s a clear pattern,” he added.
Cuomo noted that bias incidents have spiked considerably since the election of President Trump, though he refused to lay the blame at the new leader’s feet.
New York has seen a rise in hate crimes since the election, including graffiti in public spaces and bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers. The NY Police Department said hate crimes are up 35 percent since 2015.
Cuomo previously said that he was directing the state police to open a new division dedicated to hate crimes investigations.
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