June 4, 2018 at 5:00 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
White House stays silent on Masterpiece Cakeshop decision

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders didn’t address the Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling from the Supreme Court. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The entire day passed Monday after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in a major case on LGBT rights versus “religious freedom” without the White House weighing in on the outcome, even though the Trump administration has previously sided with the baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders didn’t address the narrow decision in favor of Colorado baker Jack Phillips during the daily White House briefing on Monday, nor did any reporter ask about the ruling. Instead, reporters with preoccupied with comments President Trump made on Twitter about having “absolute” authority to pardon himself and U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation being unconstitutional.

The Washington Blade attended the briefing with plans to ask whether Trump agrees with the decision — as well as the absence of a Pride proclamation from him at the start of June — but wasn’t called on by Sanders. The White House also didn’t respond Monday to repeated requests from the Blade via email to comment on the ruling.

The White House commented on the case before as part its promotion of efforts to support “religious freedom,” which in the context of the Trump administration has meant enabling anti-LGBT discrimination.

The Trump administration filed a friend-of-the-court in favor of Phillips — asserting he has a First Amendment rights to refuse to make wedding cakes to same-sex couples — and sent U.S. Solicitor General Neil Francisco to argue on his behalf during oral argument.

On the day of oral arguments last year, Sanders was asked about the case and whether the president agrees businesses should be able to put up signs declaring they won’t serve same-sex couples. In response, Sanders said Trump supports religious liberty, followed by “I believe that would include that.”

The U.S. Justice Department also didn’t respond to the Blade’s request to comment on the Masterpiece Cakeshop outcome despite its intervention in the case.

UPDATE: Trump tweeted late Monday night the Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling was a “big decision” that was “just out” without providing additional comment nearly 11 hours after the Supreme Court handed down its opinion.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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