President Donald Trump has invited conservative leaders to the White House on Thursday for what they expect will be the ceremonial signing of a long-awaited—and highly controversial—executive order on religious liberty, according to multiple people familiar with the situation.
Two senior administration officials confirmed the plan, though one cautioned that it hasn’t yet been finalized, and noted that lawyers are currently reviewing and fine-tuning the draft language. Thursday is the National Day of Prayer, and the White House was already planning to celebrate the occasion with faith leaders.
The signing would represent a major triumph for Vice President Mike Pence—whose push for religious-freedom legislation backfired mightily when he served as governor of Indiana—and his allies in the conservative movement.
Thursday is the National Day of Prayer, and also the annual Canterbury Medal Gala hosted by the Becket Fund, a group that advocates for religious freedom. This year’s recipient is conservative legal activist Leonard Leo, who has played a key role in advising Trump on his selection for the Supreme Court and has pushed for the executive order in meetings with the president.
Its no coincidence that the White House leaked this news hours after Democrats reintroduced the Equality Act.