May 4, 2017

Trump order to make it easier for churches to get political

Dave Lawler, author of World

AP

President Trump will sign an executive order Thursday designed to make it easier for religious groups to participate in politics. A senior administration official told reporters Wednesday night that the order directs the IRS to "exercise maximum discretion" in enforcing the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits groups with tax-exempt status from endorsing candidates.

  • The official said Trump's order was "about keeping his campaign promise." He pledged to "utterly destroy" the amendment on the campaign trail.
  • The order will also "provide regulatory relief" for employers that object to the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate, the official said.
  • The ACLU has already said it will challenge the order on the grounds that it facilitates discrimination, per CBS' Mark Knoller.

Go deeper

Trump and Zuckerberg share phone call amid social media furor

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

In the week that President Trump took on social media, Axios has learned that he had a call Friday with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that was described by both sides as productive.

Why it matters: With the White House and Twitter at war, Facebook has managed to keep diplomatic relations with the world's most powerful social-media devotee.

Twitter, Google lead chorus of brands backing George Floyd protests

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Twitter and Google are among the dozens of brands over the past 24 hours that have taken public stances in favor of Americans protesting racial equality. Some companies have changed their logos in solidarity with the movement, while others have pledged money in support of efforts to address social injustice.

Why it matters: The pressure that companies feel to speak out on issues has increased during the Trump era, as businesses have sought to fill a trust void left by the government. Now, some of the biggest companies are quickly taking a public stand on the protests, pressuring all other brands to do the same.

NYPD commissioner: "I'm extremely proud" of officers' response to protests

New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea in February. Photo: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a public statement Sunday that he is "extremely proud" of the New York City Police Department's response to protests over the death of George Floyd Saturday night, writing: "What we saw in New York City last night and the night before was not about peaceful protest of any kind."

Why it matters: New York City residents captured several instances of police officers using excessive force against demonstrators. In one video, two NYPD SUVs are seen ramming into protesters who were blocking a road and throwing traffic cones at the vehicles.