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Alex Brandon / AP

President Trump's surprise decision this morning to ban transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military was fast-tracked in order to save a House spending bill — imperiled by a dispute over Pentagon-funded gender reassignment treatment for transgender military personnel — that would fund some of his key promises, including a border wall, per Politico.

  • Conservative Republicans asked more moderate figures, including Paul Ryan and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, to intervene to prevent the Pentagon from funding gender reassignment treatments, but found themselves consistently rebuffed — leading them to contact the White House directly.
  • More than expected: Trump's decision to apparently expel all transgender individuals from military service was far beyond what conservative Republicans were asking for regarding the spending bill.
  • A key quote: A senior House Republican aide told Politico, ""This is like someone told the White House to light a candle on the table and the WH set the whole table on fire."

Go deeper

Updated 36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.
3 hours ago - Health

Standardized testing becomes another pandemic victim

Photo: Edmund D. Fountain for The Washington Post via Getty

National standardized reading and math tests have been pushed from next year to 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: There’s mounting national evidence that students are suffering major setbacks this year, with a surge in the number of failing grades.

3 hours ago - World

European countries extend lockdowns

A medical worker takes a COVID-19 throat swab sample at the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. Photo by Maja Hitij via Getty

Recent spikes in COVID-19 infections across Europe have led authorities to extend restrictions ahead of the holiday season.

Why it matters: "Relaxing too fast and too much is a risk for a third wave after Christmas," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

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