Trump Would Meet With Jackie Evancho About Transgender Rights, Spicer Says


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Juliet Evancho, left, and her sister Jackie at their home in a Pittsburgh suburb last year.

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Ross Mantle for The New York Times

President Trump would welcome a meeting with the singer Jackie Evancho after she criticized his rollback of rules regarding the use of bathrooms by transgender students, the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, said on Thursday.

Ms. Evancho, 16, who catapulted to international stardom on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” drew intense criticism over her decision to perform the national anthem at Donald J. Trump’s presidential inauguration on Jan. 20. She has an older sister, Juliet, 18, who came out as transgender in 2015, and her family sued the school district over her right to use women’s bathrooms.

On Wednesday, Mr. Trump overruled his own education secretary and rescinded protections for transgender students that had allowed them to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity.

Individual schools will remain free to let transgender students use the bathrooms with which they are most comfortable. The effect of the administration’s decision will not be immediate because a federal court had already issued a nationwide injunction barring enforcement of the Obama order.

Ms. Evancho said on Twitter on Wednesday, she was “obviously disappointed” by Mr. Trump’s decision “to send the #transgender bathroom issue to the states to decide,” adding the hashtag “#sisterlove.”

In another post on Twitter, she addressed Mr. Trump, saying, “u gave me the honor 2 sing at your inauguration,” adding, “Pls give me & my sis the honor 2 meet with u 2 talk #transgender rghts.”

At a news conference on Thursday, a reporter asked whether Mr. Trump would respond to Ms. Evancho’s request for a meeting. Mr. Spicer replied, “Yeah, I think the president would be welcome to meet with her.”

Jackie and Juliet heard Mr. Spicer’s comments as they were waiting to do a live interview with CNN, Kim Jakwerth, a representative for Jackie Evancho, said in an email on Thursday night. “They high-fived each other and are happy,” Ms. Jakwerth said, adding there had not yet been any direct contact with the White House about setting up a meeting.

Ms. Evancho, who is from Pittsburgh, faced a torrent of abuse on social media when she agreed to perform at the inauguration, with critics pointing to the contentious record on gay rights that Vice President Mike Pence built when he was governor of Indiana. In 2015, he signed into law a religious freedom act that was widely criticized for legitimizing discrimination against same-sex couples.

Ms. Evancho told The New York Times in an interview last month that singing at the inauguration in no way compromised her support for her sister’s fight for legal rights.

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