September 29, 2017
One of the things conservatives love about Donald Trump is that, unlike some Republicans, he doesn't tiptoe through the tough issues. When the GOP didn't have the spine to tackle Obama's transgender military policy, he did it himself. When legislation protecting religious freedom never made onto the House or Senate floor, the White House issued its own executive order. If Trump could repeal Obamacare himself, he would. But that's also why some people are left wondering -- why hasn't the White House dealt with the HHS contraceptive mandate with the same grit?
It's not as if the president hasn't staked out his position on the issue. Since the early days of the campaign, Trump made himself an ally of pro-lifers, living up to that promise almost every day of his eight months in office. Now, National Review wants to know, where is the follow-through voters are so used to seeing on something as fundamental as our freedom to believe?
"In June," write Melanie Israel and Elizabeth Slattery, "a draft of the interim final rule regarding exemptions to the contraception mandate leaked to media. It indicated that the Trump administration intended to provide a definitive exemption for individuals, employers, and insurers with religious or moral objections to all or some of the onerous mandate. Overall, it seemed to offer an effective defense of religious liberty."
"But then... nothing happened. The interim final rule was never published in the Federal Register. And the Trump administration has continued to defend the HHS mandate in court."
"Every day that individuals, employers, and religious organizations are forced to choose between complying with the mandate or violating their sincere moral or religious beliefs is an affront to the religious liberty of all Americans."
"You don't have to share the Little Sisters' beliefs to recognize that the government should not be able to force Americans to set aside their conscience when they step outside the four walls of a church to serve the poor, heal the sick, or educate the next generation."
Donald Trump has given conservatives very little to complain about where his agenda is concerned. The president's base understands, like we do, how the Left is blocking his initiatives and nominees, and how the GOP's weak-kneed leaders are failing to move his priorities through the Senate. But where their patience is wearing thin is in areas like the HHS mandate and the DOJ's guidance on religious liberty, which fall to the White House -- and the White House alone. The president has made good on so many promises. We hope his streak continues on issues as fundamental as these.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.