Donald Trump. the fiercely independent executive who is the first president since the Civil War to be completely bereft of ties to any political party continues to pursue a completely unpredictable agenda that bears no resemblance to that of any major American political party:
The Trump administration opened the door to allowing more firearms on federal lands. It scrubbed references to “L.G.B.T.Q. youth” from the description of a federal program for victims of sex trafficking. And, on the advice of religious leaders, it eliminated funding to international groups that provide abortion.
While these initiatives lacked the fanfare of some of President Trump’s high-profile proclamations — like his ban on transgender people in the military — they point to a fundamental repurposing of the federal bureaucracy to promote conservative social priorities.
The aggressive regulatory effort, which runs counter to the Trump administration’s less-is-more credo about government meddling, has led to policy changes related to gun ownership, gay rights, reproductive choices, immigration and other divisive political issues, according to a New York Times review of government documents and court records, as well as interviews with more than four dozen people involved in or briefed on the efforts.
The overhaul is unfolding behind the scenes in Washington at agencies like the Health and Human Services Department, where new rules about birth control are being drafted, and in federal courtrooms, where the Justice Department has shifted gears in more than a dozen Obama-era cases involving social issues.
The turnabout stems in part from lobbying by evangelical Christians and other conservative groups. In interviews, these groups said they have regular discussions on domestic and foreign policy with the administration — more so than during the presidency of George W. Bush, the last Republican to occupy the White House and someone who identified as a Christian conservative.
It’s the strangest thing — the story contains no examples of this nonpartisan, mavericky Trump administration making regulatory changes based on pressure from Democratic-affiliated interest groups. What an odd oversight.