Donald Trump achievements: Religious liberty, gender issues, and other social policies

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Main article: Donald Trump achievements

This article is a non-exhaustive list of achievements by U.S. President Donald Trump, his administration, and Congress related to religious liberty, gender issues, and other social issues.

For achievements related to abortion, see Donald Trump achievements: Abortion. For social policy achievements related to the military, see Donald Trump achievements: Military, national security, and anti-terrorism. For social policy related to opioids, mainly an enforcement issue, see Donald Trump achievements: Criminal justice, law enforcement, and other DOJ matters.


The Trump Administration advanced and enacted numerous social conservative policies in 2017.[1][2] Due to his achievements in advancing conservative social policies, President Trump was described as "taking back America's culture" by the conservative media.[3] United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, who resigned in late September 2017, used his tenure as secretary to advance numerous conservative policies.[4] President Trump played a large role in the Culture War.[5]

Legislation, 2017

  • December 22, 2017—As part of a $1.5 trillion tax cut bill President Trump signed, the ObamaCare individual mandate was also repealed.[6]

Executive actions, 2017

The Trump Administration took numerous actions related to healthcare and welfare:

  • January 20, 2017—On his first day in office, Trump signed an executive order that would lessen Obamacare's burden while Republicans work to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.[7][8]
  • August 30, 2017—The Department of Health and Human Services rescinded an Obama-era directive that had allowed states to request a waiver to ignore work requirements for the poor in order to receive welfare.[9]
  • August 31, 2017—The HHS announced that it would cut ObamaCare outreach funding by 90%.[10]
  • October 12, 2017—President Trump signed an executive order to increase market competition and make the healthcare market freer, such as by expanding access to plans that reach across state lines and which do not have to comply with ObamaCare rules.[11] The Labor Department finalized the rule resulting from this order in June 2018,[12] and on August 1, 2018, the HHS released a rule resulting from the order to give Americans greater access to short-term non-Obamacare plans.[13] On October 22, 2018, the Trump Administration released the third rule resulting from the order.[14]
  • October 12, 2017—The Trump Administration announced it would stop paying Obamacare subsidies, which a federal court ruled during the Obama Administration to be unconstitutional.[15]
  • In addition to creating initiatives to reduce food stamp usage,[16] the Trump Administration cracked down on food stamp fraud.[17]

The Trump Administration took numerous actions related to religious liberty:

  • May 4, 2017—On the annual National Day of Prayer,[18] President Trump signed an executive order on religious liberty. Among its provisions, it loosened IRS restrictions against political activities by tax-exempt religious organizations, effectively weakening the Johnson Amendment; and it attempted to make it easier for employers not to provide contraceptives if they had religious objections.[19] The order gave conservative Attorney General Jeff Sessions greater authority regarding religious liberty policy.[20] Although well received by some Christians and conservatives,[21] others criticized it for being ineffective and easy to repeal.[22] According to the Family Research Council nearly one year later, the order helped faith-based groups give healthcare coverage to 13.7 million Americans, among other positive effects.[23]
  • October 6, 2017—The Department of Health and Human Services rolled back the ObamaCare contraceptive mandate which required employers to provide birth control and sterilization procedures to employees even if the employers disagreed with the services for religious and moral reasons.[24][25] The Trump Administration finalized the rules on November 7, 2018.[26]
  • October 6, 2017—The Department of Justice issued several memos directing how federal agencies should interpret religious freedom, directing the DOJ to vet proposed regulations for any potential impact on religious freedom, and ordering the IRS not to enforce the Johnson Amendment.[25][27]
  • November 6, 2017—The Department of Agriculture issued a guidance protecting religious liberty and ensuring that Christians who opposed homosexual "marriage" would not be discriminated against for their beliefs.[28]

The Trump Administration took numerous actions related to homosexual, transgender, and other sex-related matters:

  • January 20, 2017—While a symbolic move, the newly-sworn-in Trump Administration quickly removed the Obama Administration's web pages on LGBTQ issues, among some other left-wing causes.[29]
  • February 22, 2017—President Trump rescinded former President Obama's pro-transgender guidelines for schools receiving federal aid that are subject to Title IX.[30] A day earlier, the Trump Administration announced it would discontinue Obama's pro-transgender policies,[31] and earlier that month the DOJ refused to defend the policy or appeal a court-ordered injunction on the policy.[32]
  • April 14, 2017—The Justice Department dropped its discrimination lawsuit against North Carolina for its "bathroom bill" (filed under the Obama Administration) after North Carolina passed a compromise bill. Homosexual activists still opposed the new bill.[33]
  • In May 2017, the Trump Administration began to undo Section 1557 of ObamaCare, which would have helped liberals gain transexual "rights" through the courts.[34]
  • President Trump did not proclaim June 2017 as LGBT Pride Month, unlike former presidents Clinton and Obama.[35]
  • June 30, 2017—The Department of Defense announced it would delay an Obama Administration plan to have the military recruit transgender people for six months in order to ensure the military's readiness would not be affected by the change.[36] On July 26, 2017, President Trump announced he would reverse Obama's policy and disallow transgender people from serving in the military.[37] President Trump formally signed an order banning transgenders from joining the military on August 25, 2017.[38] President Trump signed a final order on March 23, 2018, that banned transgender individuals from military service but with certain exceptions.[39]
  • October 4, 2017—The Department of Justice issued a memo reversing an Obama-era policy that had the DOJ interpret the scope of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to extend to "gender identity."[40]

Appointments, 2017

  • April 14, 2017—President Trump appointed Roger Severino, a strong defender of religious liberty, to the HHS Office for Civil Rights.[41] By April 2018, Severino had become a major figure in advancing the Trump Administration's pro-religious liberty policies.[42][43]
  • June 6, 2017—The Trump Administration appointed Valerie Huber, an abstinence education advocate, to the position of chief of staff to the assistant secretary for health at the HHS.[44]
  • July 2017—President Trump appointed Bethany Kozma, a conservative homemaker and anti-transgender activist as Senior Adviser in the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment division of USAID.[45] In March 2018, Kozma reportedly stated that the U.S. "is a pro-life country" at a private United Nations meeting.[46]

Proclamations, 2017

  • November 19–25, 2017—President Trump declared this week to be National Family Week to "emphasize the importance of preserving and promoting strong families, the cornerstone of our society."[47]

Other achievements, 2017

While the following achievements were not official United States government policy actions by the Trump Administration, they were closely related to the Trump Administration and its policies:

  • October 13, 2017—President Donald Trump became the first sitting U.S. President to speak at the Family Research Council's Value Voters Summit,[48] in which he voiced strong support for social conservative policies.[49]
  • Food stamp levels fell after Trump took office.[16][50] By August 2017, the number of people on food stamps had fallen by 1.1 million people since the beginning of Trump's presidency,[51] and it was reported in September 2017 that the number of people using food stamps had declined each month of Trump's presidency to that point.[52] By the end of Fiscal Year 2017, the number of people on food stamps had dropped by over 2 million,[53] and the number fell to 2.2 million fewer in Trump's first full year in office.[54] In FY 2017, the federal government spent the lowest amount of money on the food stamp program in seven years.[55] Between October and November 2017, four million people stopped using food stamps,[56] and in December 2017, it dropped by over 500,000.[57] According to the USDA, in 2017, participation in the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) food stamp and welfare program reached its lowest level in 17 years.[58] In 2017, the number of people applying for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration fell below 1.5 million – the lowest level since 2002, and something attributed to the strong economy.[59] The drop was so large that the SSA had to revise its estimates of how much longer the program would remain financially stable.[59]

Failures, 2017

  • January 31, 2017—President Donald Trump announced he would keep a 2014 executive order signed by former President Obama that gave protected status to homosexual employees of the government and federal contractors.[60][61] Additionally, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner reportedly derailed a proposed executive order protecting religious liberty at the same time.[62] However, supporters of homosexual privileges claimed that a March 27, 2017 order, which repealed much of Obama's 2014 executive order, went against Trump's statement to keep the 2014 Obama order (which, if true, would annul this supposed failure).[63]
  • It was reported in June 2017 that the Trump Administration officials continued Obama's advancement of transgender ideology into public schools.[64]
  • Despite the Trump Administration's actions in advancing social conservative policies,[1] some conservatives, citing numerous examples in Trump's presidency, argued that President Trump had not taken as strong a stance in favor of religious liberty and social conservatism as expected.[65]
  • August 2017—Not only did Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announce he would keep two programs in the department intended to increase racial diversity,[66] but he announced that the department would take further action for racial diversity, such as considering at least one minority for every ambassadorship position.[67] In addition, the State Department under Tillerson recognized the "Transgender Day of Remembrance."[68]


The Trump Administration continued promoting social conservative policies and defending religious liberty,[23][69] and the HHS had become a strong defender of religious freedom by January 2018.[43][70][71] Meanwhile, in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Secretary Ben Carson worked to advance a conservative agenda.[72] The Trump Administration also took steps to encourage Americans to opt out of Obamacare and receive less expensive plans.[73] The Trump Administration also tried to fight rising drug prices.[74][75]

Legislation signed, 2018

  • February 9, 2018—President Trump signed a government funding bill that also had a provision assuring disaster relief from FEMA to churches and other houses of worship and ending the agency's practice of denying funds to the institutions simply because of their religious status.[76]
  • May 30, 2018—President Trump signed the Right to Try Act of 2017 into law, which gave terminally ill patients the right to try experimental treatments without full approval from the Food and Drug Administration.[77]
  • October 10, 2018—President Trump signed two bills into law, both of them banning "gag clauses" that disallow pharmacists from telling patients that they can pay less for prescriptions by not using their insurance.[78]
  • October 24, 2018—President Trump signed into law a major bill combatting the opioid crisis through several different measures.[79]
  • December 11, 2018—President Trump signed the Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act into law, which ensured that U.S. aid to the Middle East would reach Christians and other religious minorities, and it authorized the government to directly fund faith-based groups and other NGOs working in the region.[80]

Executive actions, 2018

The Trump Administration took several actions related to healthcare and welfare:

  • January 11, 2018—The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a guidance that made it easier for states to enact programs requiring Medicaid recipients to work in order to continue receiving those benefits.[81]
  • The USDA took several steps to protect against fraud in its food stamp programs, including hiring a "chief integrity officer" to oversee those efforts.[82]
  • April 9, 2018—The HHS released two new ObamaCare regulations that expanded exemptions to the individual mandate and gave the states more flexibility.[83]
  • April 10, 2018—President Trump signed an executive order calling for a government-wide review of welfare programs for the purpose of ensuring that they help Americans find work and escape poverty. The order also called on the federal government to create or strengthen work requirements for its welfare programs.[84]
  • June 19, 2018—The Labor Department finalized a new rule – resulting from an executive order President Trump signed in October 2017 – expanding association health plans so that small business owners join together to buy health insurance plans outside of ObamaCare's strict regulations.[12]
  • July 10, 2018—The Trump Administration announced it would cut funding for Obamacare outreach from $36.8 million to $10 million – the funding was at $62.5 million before the Trump Administration began cutting it in 2017.[85]
  • July 17, 2018—The Food and Drug Administration released a draft guidance to make it easier for consumers to buy more medicines without a prescription, beginning the process of enacting new rules on the matter.[86]
  • August 1, 2018—The Labor Department released a final rule to expand Americans' access to short-term non-Obamacare healthcare plans, reversing an April 2016 Obama-era regulation.[13]
  • August 7, 2018—The HHS announced it would allow insurers participating in the Medicare Advantage program to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to lower drug prices.[87]
  • August 29, 2018—The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services moved to give Medicare drug plans more choices they could offer to customers in order to lower drug prices.[88]
  • October 4, 2018—The CMS announced it would implement several changes to improve its oversight of organizations that accredit hospitals.[89]
  • October 15, 2018—The HHS announced it would enact a regulation requiring pharmaceutical companies to list their drug prices in their TV commercials, a step intended to help lower drug prices.[75][90]
  • October 22, 2018—The HHS announced it would allow the states to offer cheaper ObamaCare plans with fewer of the law's requirements yet still be able to receive federal subsidies.[91]
  • October 22, 2018—The Trump Administration proposed a rule to allow employers contribute to cheaper health reimbursement arrangements, reversing an Obama-era regulation.[14]
  • November 13, 2018—The Trump Administration gave more flexibility to the states to provide inpatient mental health treatment for individuals.[92]
  • November 29, 2018—The Trump Administration announced four ways it would give waivers to the states so they could receive federal subsidies for health care plans that do not meet ObamaCare's requirements.[93]

The Trump Administration took several actions related to religious liberty:

  • January 18, 2018—The HHS created the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division office, part of the Office of Civil Rights, in order to protect doctors and other healthcare workers from being forced to participate in abortions, euthanasia, and transgender surgeries.[43][94] The next day, the HHS began the process of enacting a regulation to require healthcare providers to follow laws that protect workers' from being forced to perform services, such as abortions, that violate their consciences.[70][95]
  • January 2018—The DOJ added new guidelines regarding religious liberty in its U.S. Attorneys' Manual, prioritizing the issue for the department and intended to strengthen such protections.[96]
  • February 23, 2018—The HHS changed its Title X family planning grants to promote conservative priorities such as favoring religious organizations as well as groups that promote abstinence and do not perform abortions.[97]
  • May 3, 2018—Speaking at a National Day of Prayer event,[98] President Trump signed an order creating a faith-based White House office, the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative, intended to help protect religious liberty and include the perspective of "faith-based" Americans when making policy.[99]
  • May 9, 2018—The Education Department moved to review existing regulations restricting religious universities from receiving federal money – with the intention of changing or removing those regulations – in order to strengthen religious freedom protections for those institutions.[100]
  • June 13, 2018—The DOJ announced a new initiative – its "Place to Worship Initiative" – to combat religious discrimination against houses of worship by municipalities.[101]
  • July 24–26, 2018—The State Department hosted the first-ever U.S. government summit on religious freedom.[102] At the end of the summit, the State Department released the Potomac Declaration and the Potomac Plan of Action, which emphasized the importance of religious liberty to the U.S. government, called on other countries to protect religious freedom, and outlined specific steps for these countries to follow to protect religious freedom. The Trump Administration also announced the establishment of an International Religious Freedom Fund, as well as the Genocide Recovery and Persecution Response Program to quickly provide aid to persecuted religious minorities.[103]
  • July 30, 2018—Attorney General Sessions announced the creation of its Religious Liberty Task Force to help it implement a pro-religious liberty guidance it issued in October 2017.[104]
  • November 7, 2018—The Trump Administration finalized two rules allowing employers with religious objections to opt out of the ObamaCare contraceptive mandate and ensuring that taxpayer-funded healthcare subsidies would not be used to fund abortions.[26]
  • November 15, 2018—USAID announced a new policy expanding its funding of private and religious schools in developing countries.[105]

The Trump Administration took numerous actions related to homosexual, transgender, and other sex-related matters:

  • February 2018—It was reported that the Education Department would no longer investigate claims by transgender students of being forced to use the bathroom of their biological gender.[106]
  • March 23, 2018—President Trump signed an order banning transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military except in "limited circumstances."[39]
  • It was reported that various agencies in the Trump Administration removed instances to LGBT information on their websites.[107] Additionally, the Trump Administration successfully pressured the 4-H to rescind a pro-homosexuality rule from its website.[108]
  • April 20, 2018—The HHS announced it would shift its funds in the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program to programs promoting abstinence.[109]
  • May 11, 2018—The Bureau of Prisons reversed several Obama Administration guidelines catering to transgender inmates and making one's biological gender the main factor in deciding which facilities and bathrooms to assign inmates.[110]
  • June 2018—The Department of Defense did not issue a memo commemorating LGBT Pride Month, a change from previous years.[111] This came shortly after the White House also refused to commemorate the month.[112] Despite this, other federal government agencies, including the National Park Service and Veterans Administration, did celebrate the month.[113]
  • October 1, 2018—The Trump Administration implemented a rule denying visas to same-sex domestic partners of foreign diplomats, effectively reversing a 2009 Obama Administration decision.[114] While the Trump Administration based its decision on the faulty 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision, its action ended the special benefits provided to homosexual individuals in this area.[114]

The Trump Administration too actions on other social issues:

  • May 19, 2018—Among its steps to reverse Obama Administration "fair housing" policies, the Department of Housing and Urban Development withdrew a computer tool it used to identify instances of segregation due to it being unhelpful.[115]
  • July 3, 2018—The DOJ rescinded seven Obama Administration guidance documents that promoted affirmative action in colleges and universities.[116]
  • August 13, 2018—HUD began the process of revising the Obama Administration's 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation in order to increase local control and efficiency, among other goals.[117]
  • August 30, 2018—The DOJ filed a "Statement of Interest" supporting ethnically-Asian students in their lawsuit against Harvard University that alleged that the school discriminated against them in the admissions process because of their ethnicity.[118] It was revealed in September 2018 that the DOJ had also begun investigation racial discrimination at Yale University.[119]

Appointments, 2018

  • On January 24, 2018, the U.S. Senate narrowly confirmed – with Vice President Mike Pence casting a tie-breaking vote – social conservative Sam Brownback to be the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom.[120]

Proclamations, 2018

  • January 16, 2018—President Trump declared this day Religious Freedom Day, 2018, proclaiming that "our forefathers, seeking refuge from religious persecution, believed in the eternal truth that freedom is not a gift from the government, but a sacred right from Almighty God."[121] Trump stood up for Christians when by stating that "no American—whether a nun, nurse, baker, or business owner—should be forced to choose between the tenets of faith or adherence to the law."[121]

Other achievements, 2018

While the following achievements were not official United States government policy actions by the Trump Administration, they were closely related to the Trump Administration and its policies:

  • The number of Americans on food stamps fell by 1.3 million between December 2017 and February 2018.[122] In February 2018, the number of households using food stamps dropped below 20 million for the first time since 2010,[123] and in March 2018, overall enrollment fell to the lowest level in eight years,[124] something attributed to economic growth and the Trump Administration's efforts to crack down on fraud.[125] In March 2018, participation in the WIC welfare program fell to its lowest level in 24 years.[126] In April 2018, food stamp enrollment fell below 40 million for the first time since February 2010.[127] By May 2018, 2.8 million Americans had stopped using food stamps since the beginning of Trump's presidency.[128] By July 2018, the number of people on food stamps fell to the lowest level since November 2009,[129] and participation continued to fall.[130] Between February 2017 and September 2018, the number of people on food stamps fell by 3.5 million.[131] Between September 2017 and September 2018, food stamp enrollment fell in 47 of the 50 states.[132]
  • It was reported in May 2018 that drug prices had dropped since the beginning of the Trump Administration, something attributed to the administration.[133]
  • May 11, 2018—President Trump announced his plan to lower drug prices, which he did while criticizing the drug industry and foreign governments for its practices that hurt American citizens.[134] On October 25, 2018, President Trump announced a plan to lower U.S. drug prices to that of other countries.[135]

Failures, 2018

  • April 20, 2018—Despite featuring several positive changes, such as taking a pro-Israel stance and not considering abortion a "human right,"[136] the State Department's annual human rights report, still had a pro-homosexual agenda bias.[137] The State Department and the Trump Administration's foreign policy also promoted the homosexual agenda in other ways.[138]
  • May 7, 2018—Seema Verma, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, announced she would reject an application from the State of Kansas to institute a three-year lifetime limit on Medicaid benefits for certain enrollees.[139]


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  29. Multiple references: See also:
  30. Multiple references: However, see also:
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  38. Multiple references: However, the ban would not go into effect until a study on the order was completed:
  39. 39.0 39.1 Multiple references: Despite this order, President Trump retreated from a total ban on transgender individuals in the military: See also:
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  84. Multiple references: See also:
  85. Multiple references: See also:
  86. Multiple references:
  87. Multiple references:
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  90. Multiple references: A conservative criticism of the decision:
  91. Multiple references:
  92. Multiple references:
  93. Multiple references:
  94. Multiple references: See also:
  95. Multiple references:
  96. Multiple references:
  97. Multiple references:
  98. Multiple references: See also:
  99. Multiple references: See also:
  100. Multiple references:
  101. Multiple references:
  102. Multiple references: See also:
  103. Multiple references: On the Genocide Recovery and Persecution Response Program and U.S. funding in the Middle East: See also:
  104. Multiple references: See also:
  105. Multiple references: See also:
  106. Multiple references: See also:
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  111. Multiple references:
  112. Multiple references: See also:
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  114. 114.0 114.1 Multiple references:
  115. Multiple references: See also:
  116. Multiple references: See also:
  117. Multiple references: See also:
  118. Multiple references: See also:
  119. Multiple references:
  120. Multiple references: Brownback was sworn in on February 1, 2018: See also:
  121. 121.0 121.1 Multiple references: See also:
  122. Rodriguez, Katherine (May 9, 2018). Food Stamp Enrollment Drops by 1.3 Million in Two Months. Breitbart News. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
    See also:
  123. Rodriguez, Katherine (June 11, 2018). Food Stamp Households Drop Below 20 Million for First Time Since 2010. Breitbart News. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
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    See also:
  128. Rodriguez, Katherine (August 5, 2018). 2.8 Million People Drop Off Food Stamps Under Trump. Breitbart News. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
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  134. Multiple references: See also:
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  136. Multiple references:
  137. Ruse, Austin (April 30, 2018). Killing unborn children not a human right, says State Department. LifeSiteNews (from C-Fam). Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  138. Multiple references:
  139. Multiple references: