- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 4, 2017

The White House said the American Civil Liberties Union showed its true colors Thursday by threatening a lawsuit to block President Trump’s executive order that protects political speech by religious institutions and faith-based groups.

“I don’t think anybody is surprised at the ACLU wants to come out against Republicans,” said White House deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders. “They talk about debating tolerance except when it comes to people of faith and I think that this is actually [something] they should be celebrating, that people are being protected.”

The ACLU said it would sue because of the action and another executive order that lifted the Obamacare mandate for faith-based institutions to pay for abortion services. The ACLU called the orders a “thinly-veiled efforts to unleash his conservative religious base into the political arena while also using religion to discriminate.”

The White House counsel’s office is prepared to defend the executive orders, said Ms. Sanders, adding that they were confident they would prevail in court.

“I think that the Constitution is on our side here,” she said. “The very basis of it is freedom of speech and it shouldn’t be taken away simply because of the faith you may hold.”

Mr. Trump signed the orders earlier Thursday during a White House event recognizing the National Day of Prayer.

“It’s not about discriminating. It’s not about being against anyone. It is simple about protecting people of faith and people of all faiths across the country,” Ms. Sanders said. “That’s something the president heard from religious leaders of all diversities during his time on the campaign and something he promised to do.”

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