Regarding the ban on transgender individuals serving in the U.S. military, Biden “wasted no time” overturning it, and such quick action on the Biden administration’s part sent a strong message about the administration’s values.
At the time, Trump had enacted the ban without notifying the Pentagon or then-Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. As Kerry explains, this was a terrible idea for a variety of reasons: “They had to spend months and months cleaning up this mess when in fact all of the research said, ‘Hey, this is a bad idea, it’s not going to help cohesion—it’s going to demoralize people, and it’s going to weaken the military.’”
Biden has also done work to expand protections for the LGBTQ community. Title VII in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 covered LGBTQ workers or people under sex discrimination. The Biden administration, however, would interpret the sex discrimination clause to cover LGBTQ people across the board, not just in the workplace. This type of leadership, as Kerry stated, resonates and “is going to equalize things for so many Americans.”
In just his first few days in office, Biden also expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals protections for Dreamers, undid the ban on trans people serving in the military, and cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline. According to FiveThirtyEight, of the 14 executive orders Biden signed, only two of them didn’t poll above 50% support among the American public. This indicated to Kerry that:
A lot of them are actually wildly popular, and in fact, the Title VII one we talked about earlier… and also, the focus on racial equity—those garnered 77%. So his executive order agenda is wildly popular, and you just have to get it out there, and you have to see what survives in the courts. Some of them will not be challenged.
On the future of the Republican Party, Kerry believes it has been permanently shaped by Trump and his loyal base. As she said,
The Republican Party is now bound to Trump. They have bound themselves to Trump, so Senators want to have an excuse to acquit him … They are coming down on the side of Trump. There was a moment where maybe they were going to break from Trump; that’s not happening. And the biggest problem right now is that GOP leadership across the board in the Senate, in the House, and many of those eyeing a 2024 run—they’re going to let this lie continue about election fraud, and America is going to pay for years for that lie festering if we don’t find a way to nip it in the bud.
You can listen to the audio below.