President Trump’s announcement on Twitter that he was banning transgender people from serving in the military seemed spontaneous and reportedly caught some administration officials and congressional leaders by surprise.
But evangelical Christian leaders who informally advise the president discussed reversing the year-old policy two weeks ago at a meeting arranged by White House staff in Washington, D.C.
The discussion came during a previously reported daylong meeting of evangelical leaders — including a number who had been on Trump’s evangelical advisory board during the campaign — on July 10 at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
The building is next door to the White House and houses the offices of most of the White House staff. Various staff members were present throughout the meeting, listening and taking notes, said one of those who attended the meeting, evangelical author and public relations consultant Johnnie Moore.
“It’s not the administration propagandizing,” he said. “It’s religious leaders, it’s the administration sitting at the table, taking notes, listening to them, asking questions and vice versa, and attempting to understand the needs of the community.”
Moore said the policy on transgender people serving in the military had not been on the agenda for the meeting. It was one of many topics that came up throughout the day, including health care, taxes, religious liberty and judicial appointments.
“We briefly discussed this issue,” Moore said.
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SOURCE: Religion News Service