May 3, 2017 at 5:59 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Spicer tight-lipped on rumored ‘religious freedom’ EO

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was tight-lipped on a “religious freedom” executive order.
(Photo courtesy CSPAN).

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was tight-lipped on Wednesday on President Trump potentially signing a “religious freedom” executive order critics fear would enable anti-LGBT discrimination.

Under questioning from the Washington Blade, Spicer said he wouldn’t get ahead of Trump on any executive order, but acknowledged a gathering at the White House on Thursday with faith leaders to celebrate the National Day of Prayer.

“I know we’ve talked about EOs for a long time, executive orders,” Spicer said. “Tomorrow is the National Day of Prayer. There will be a proclamation the president will sign. We’re looking to having religious leaders from a multitude of backgrounds come to the White House to celebrate, but I’ve never gotten ahead of executive orders.”

Spicer wouldn’t answer follow-up questions from the Blade on whether the “religious freedom” executive order means the White House statement that Trump would retain President Obama’s LGBT workplace executive order was a lie and how Trump can claim he’s a friend to LGBT people when considering the order.

“I answered the question,” Spicer said. “Thank you.”

According to Politico, two senior administration officials have confirmed Trump will sign the order on Thursday, although “one cautioned that it hasn’t yet been finalized, and noted that lawyers are currently reviewing and fine-tuning the draft language.”

A draft “religious freedom” executive order has circulated among federal advocacy groups and would enable discrimination on the basis of religious objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion and transgender identity. The proposed measure would gut former President Obama’s 2014 executive order barring anti-LGBT workplace discrimination against federal contractors, which the White House said Trump planned to keep intact.

Jennifer Wishon, a reporter with Christian Broadcasting Network, tweeted out after the exchange with Spicer that sources have told her the directive is still under development.

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

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