Trump conviction elicits various reactions from LGBTQ leaders

  • by Matthew S. Bajko, Assistant Editor
  • Thursday May 30, 2024
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Donald Trump was convicted in criminal court by a Manhattan jury in his hush money trial May 30. Photo: Reuters
Donald Trump was convicted in criminal court by a Manhattan jury in his hush money trial May 30. Photo: Reuters

Reaction was swift from various LGBTQ leaders to the conviction of former president Donald Trump on all 34 felony counts in his New York hush money case. It means the presumed Republican Party presidential nominee is unfit to return to the White House and needs to be defeated in November, argued out Democrats.

LGBTQ Republicans took the polar opposite stance. Several prominent out conservatives quickly voiced support for Trump's reelection campaign.

Trump is aiming to deny President Joe Biden a second term in a role reversal from four years ago when Biden, a former vice president and U.S. senator from Delaware, blocked Trump from serving another four years and returned the presidency to Democratic control. Polling has shown Trump with an edge over Biden in numerous surveys this spring of various swing state voters.

It remains to be seen how Trump's guilty verdicts in the case brought by the Manhattan District Attorney's office will impact voters' decisions. It stemmed from Trump's falsifying business records to cover up a sex scandal with porn star Stormy Daniels that threatened to derail his 2016 presidential campaign, as the New York Times noted in its coverage of the trial.

For many LGBTQ leaders, Trump becoming the first former U.S. president to be convicted of a felony is just one more bullet point among many for why he needs to be defeated at the ballot box this fall.

"The twice-impeached, forever disgraced former President of the United States has now been convicted of 34 felony counts by a jury of his peers," stated Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson. "Today's conviction shows clearly that no one is above the law. And now, we must commit to showing up in November and ensuring that Trump doesn't make his way from the courthouse back to the White House."

Gay Congressmember Robert Garcia (D-Long Beach) echoed that sentiment in his own statement he released shortly after the jurors' decision was announced.

"These guilty verdicts confirm what we have long known — Donald Trump is a con man and a criminal who has consistently exploited our country for his own personal gain. No one, not even a former president, is above the law," stated Garcia. "Meanwhile, the MAGA Republican Majority will continue to support and uplift Trump as their leader instead of condemning this serious criminal behavior."

Gay Congressmember Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin), chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus, simply posted a meme to his account on X featuring NBC late night host Seth Meyers mouthing the words, "Guilty as hell."

He later wrote on his campaign account on X, "Guilty! Validation that Trump was trying to manipulate the election prior to January 6, where he again acted as a criminal. Now let's move on to reelecting @JoeBiden. (And he's not a felon)"

Via his account on the social media platform, gay Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D) wrote, "No one is above the law. Coloradans have faith in our justice system and the guilty convictions from a jury of his peers show the former President lacks the moral capacity to lead our country."

Coming to Trump's defense was his gay ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, who also served as the acting national intelligence chief and as a special envoy to the Balkans during the Trump administration. Grenell, whom the New York Times recently reported is angling for a cabinet post in a second Trump administration, wrote via his account on X, "Open the polls. I'm ready to vote. #47"

And the LGBTQ conservative political group Log Cabin Republicans also voiced support for Trump. It released a statement via its X account by the group's president, Charles Moran, that attacked "the corrupt Democrat machine in New York" with fulfilling a campaign promise to use the judicial system to attack the former president.

"LGBT conservatives have never been more united behind President Trump and have never been more determined to defeat the radical Left and end their abuse of power in November," stated Moran.

Gay candidates weaponize conviction

Meanwhile, within minutes of the announcement of the verdict, the news was already being put to use by candidates running on the November 5 ballot. One of the first to do so in California was gay progressive activist Derek Marshall, who is trying for a second time to unseat conservative Congressmember Jay Obernolte (R-Hesperia) in the state's 23rd Congressional District. It covers the high desert areas east of Los Angeles.

Seen as the underdog in the race, Marshall has received little support from the Democratic Party and his contest is not being targeted as one of its pickup seats to regain control of the U.S. House next year. Nonetheless, Marshall jumped on the news of Trump's conviction to attack Obernolte and raise funds for his campaign.

"Convicted felon Donald Trump chose Rep. Jay Obernolte for Congress. Then, Jay took one of his first votes in office to overturn the 2020 election and keep Trump in power," wrote Marshall in his emailed fundraising pitch. "Let's take our country back. Let's restore honor and dignity to our government. Get convicted felon Donald Trump's favorite California Republican OUT of Congress."

Gay former federal prosecutor Will Rollins was also quick to use Trump's verdicts against his opponent, conservative Congressmember Ken Calvert (R-Corona). They are running for the 41st Congressional District seat that includes the LGBTQ resort and retirement mecca Palm Springs where Rollins now lives.

Rollins lost to Calvert two years ago but has drawn far more significant support from the Democratic Party for his 2024 candidacy. The seat is one Democrats hope to pick up this cycle, though Calvert is seen as having a slight edge in the race.

In a post on X, Rollins reposted video of Calvert voicing support for reelecting Trump in an earlier interview with a conservative broadcaster.

"We deserve a representative who cares more about the 750,000 of us in Riverside County than one convicted felon in New York," wrote Rollins.

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