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White House and Pentagon officials are providing virtually no details about President Trump's decision to ban transgender troops from the military for a simple enough reason: There aren't any.

In the history of presidential decisions, this may have one of the biggest gaps ever between the amount of consequence, symbolism and resonance, and the quantity of internal deliberation or consideration:

  • Trump jumped the gun with his tweets yesterday morning, surprising the Pentagon and leaving thousands of troops in limbo because there has been no guidance on whether the decision is retroactive.
  • That was it: No press release, no white paper, no FAQ. The rule-making and guidance process is just beginning.
  • And this is a policy that administration officials feel is virtually certain to be challenged in court on constitutional grounds.

Something this big just isn't done this way. It's a victory for Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, no doubt. But there wasn't a huge fight, or clear factions like on the Paris climate decision. Vice President Pence had little to no involvement. It wasn't on the radar of most of the West Wing's New York crowd.

  • Administration officials are like: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. They're not mad. They're not defensive. They're just going: Yup.
  • Conservative leaders, including Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, had been talking to the White House about the issue. But as described by administration officials, the decision occurred almost by spontaneous combustion after Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, demanded it as part of an appropriations deal.
  • The White House appreciated his help on health care, and will need what the president calls "the Freedom people" again.
  • So it's part of the current West Wing instinct to go with the base. But Trump apparently gave no great thought that this was his first real foray into the culture wars.
  • Defense Secretary James Mattis wanted to be deliberative for internal reasons, but his process was short-circuited by the tweets.

Stand by for answers to such questions as whether the military will continue to cover counseling and drugs, but not hormonal treatment or surgery. There's a widespread assumption that the announcement will be moderated so that current troops are grandfathered in. But who knows?

All TBD!

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Go deeper

"Assassin's Creed," but for schools

"Viking Age: Discovery Tour." Image via Ubisoft

For the third time since 2018, Ubisoft is releasing a nonviolent version of its latest “Assassin’s Creed” game as part of a unique effort to turn one of the medium’s most popular series into an educational tool.

Driving the news:Viking Age: Discovery Tour” transforms last year’s “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” from a bloody 150-hour game about Viking conquest in 9th century England into a peaceful four-hour game about merchants and monks.

School enrollment fell by almost 3 million from 2019 to 2020

Kindergarten student Natalia Bayoumi holds the hand of her father Amir Bayoumi as he walks to the front door of Normont Elementary School in Harbor City, CA. Photo: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The number of individuals enrolled in the U.S. education system dropped by 2.9 million from 2019 to 2020, according to new data released Tuesday by the Census Bureau.

Why it matters: This marks the lowest level of school enrollment for those under 35 years-old in over 20 years, per the Census Bureau.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Facebook paying up to $14M to settle employment discrimination claims

Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook has agreed to pay up to $14.25 million to settle allegations that it discriminated against U.S. workers by reserving positions for temporary visa holders, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The settlement represents the largest civil penalty and monetary award that the Civil Rights Division has recovered in the 35-year history of the Immigration and Nationality Act's anti-discrimination provision.