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Jackie Evancho, who sang the national anthem at Trump's inauguration, asks for a meeting on transgender rights

By John Wagner

February 23, 2017 at 7:46 AM

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Singer Jackie Evancho, 16, sings "The Star-Spangled Banner" at President Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20. (The Washington Post)

Teenage classical singer Jackie Evancho, one of the first performers to be enlisted for President Trump's inaugural festivities, said Thursday she is waiting to hear from the White House after expressing her dismay over the withdrawal of federal protections for transgender students.

In a pair of tweets Wednesday, Evancho, who has a transgender sister, said she was "obviously disappointed" with the decision "to send the #transgender bathroom issue to the states to decide."

"U gave me the honor 2 sing at your inauguration," Evancho wrote in a second tweet to her more than 82,000 followers. "Pls give me & my sis the honor 2 meet with you 2 talk #transgender rights."

Appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Thursday alongside her sister Juliet, Evancho said she had not heard from Trump.

"I guess I just want to enlighten him on what my sister, I've seen her go through every single day in school and people just like her, what they deal with," Evancho said on the program. "The discrimination, it's terrible."

On Wednesday, Trump's Education and Justice departments notified the U.S. Supreme Court that the administration is ordering the nation's public schools to disregard memos the Obama administration issued during the past two years regarding transgender student rights.

Those memos said that prohibiting transgender students from using restrooms that align with their gender identity violates federal anti-discrimination laws. White House press secretary Sean Spicer said earlier Wednesday that Trump believed the issue was best left to individual states.

The White House did not respond Wednesday night to questions about whether Trump plans to reply to Evancho, who performed the national anthem following Trump's swearing-in last month.

On "Good Morning America," Evancho's sister, Juliet Evancho, said: "I've had things thrown at me. I've had people say pretty horrible things, and the unsafe environment is just very unhealthy, so I feel like Donald Trump needs to know that being in such an unsafe environment won't do any good not only for the transgenders and the LGBTQ community but as well as everyone as a whole."

Jackie Evancho, whose career got a boost in 2010 from being the runner-up on "America's Got Talent," was among the first performers announced by Trump's inaugural committee at a time when it was struggling to attract A-list talent.

Shortly after her selection was announced, Trump said on Twitter that Evancho's album sales had "skyrocketed" as a result. "Some people just don't understand the 'Movement,'" he wrote.


John Wagner is a national political reporter covering the White House.

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