Washington, DC – At an off-camera press conference (gaggle), the White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders explained to journalists that President Trump’s executive order promoted “free speech and religious liberty.”
Speaking in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, Sanders listed three important and primary things, which the executive order outlines:
Firstly it directs the IRS not to enforce the Johnson Amendment, which could be used to deny or revoke a church’s nonprofit tax-exempt status. Repealing the Johnson Amendment was one of the President’s key campaign promises.
Secondly, it directs the Department of Health and Human Services to amend the Obamacare regulations that force people of faith to pay for birth control in direct conflict with their religious beliefs.
And three, it directs all federal agencies and departments to protect religious liberty and free speech, consistent with guidance to be issued by the Department of Justice.
Earlier President Donald Trump observed the National Day of Prayer and then signed an executive order on Thursday (May 4) in the Rose Garden of the White House. The EO directs the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to exercise restraint when enforcing restrictions on political activity by tax-exempt churches and charities.
Claiming that “President Trump’s prior assertion that he wished to ‘totally destroy’ the Johnson Amendment with this order,” is proven to be a textbook case of ‘fake news,’ American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said in a statement. “The directive to federal agencies to explore religious-based exceptions to healthcare does cue up a potential future battle, but as of now, the status quo has not changed.”
“The ACLU stands ready to sue the Trump administration and in the event that this order triggers any official government action at all, we will see Trump in court, again,” the ACLU director cautioned.