Trump's disingenuous ploy for gay support

  • Wednesday August 10, 2016
Share this Post:
Trump's disingenuous ploy for gay support

At the recent Republican convention, presidential nominee Donald Trump said he was going to "stop" terrorists from killing LGBTQ people. During his convention speech Trump also referred to the June 12 mass shooting at Pulse, an Orlando gay nightclub, when he said, "Only weeks ago, 49 wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by an Islamic terrorist " this targeting the LGBTQ community. No good, and we're gonna stop it." Convention delegates even applauded Trump's mention of LGBTQ people, not once but twice, during his remarks.

Trump's tepid embrace of the LGBTQ community, however, has proved short-lived, about three weeks to be exact. That's because on Friday, two-months to the day of the nightclub tragedy, Trump reportedly has accepted an invitation to attend a gathering of the America Renewal Project, a vehemently anti-LGBT conference that's taking place in Orlando, just down the street from Pulse. Political observers liken Trump's visit to the evangelicals as an attempt to "reset" what has been a disastrous post-convention period, highlighted by his mocking of a Muslim-American man who spoke at the Democratic convention and challenged Trump from the stage. Trump and his surrogates kept that story alive for nearly a week, as television shows repeatedly aired clips of Khizr Khan's powerful speech, in which he offered to lend Trump his copy of the Constitution.

We don't care what contortions gay Republicans put themselves through to promote Trump's gay-friendliness. They're wrong. Trump is not gay-friendly, and neither is Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who shortly after the Pulse shooting decided to seek re-election this year. He'll be at that anti-gay conference, too.

It was interesting to see how Republican elected officials reacted in the aftermath of Orlando. Rubio's statement encouraged "anyone living in Central Florida to donate blood to help the injured," even though he must have known that sexually active gay and bi men are prohibited from doing so. He said he was "devastated" by the carnage and grieved for those who lost their lives, even as most of them were young gay Latino men. For an instant, we thought Florida Republicans might see the massacre as an opportunity for everyone " gay and straight " to come together in shared grief and profound sadness. But here we are, two short months later, and Rubio and Trump are working to woo anti-gay religious zealots.

Faith in America issued a statement this week reiterating that, and also noted that Trump is being manipulated by conference organizers who want to ask him "how he plans to combat homosexual totalitarianism."

"The beliefs shared by this group actively harm LGBT people," Eliel Cruz, executive director of Faith in America, said in a statement. "This is not the America we want. God will not be found anywhere near that event."

Cruz pointed out that LGBT teens are six to eight times more likely to suffer deep depression, have serious suicidal thoughts, attempt suicide, and even worse, actually take their own lives because they are so distraught over religious teachings that are outdated, ill-advised, and ill-informed. It is exactly people like the ones at this conference, and those complicit, that cause this reckless harm."

That's a strong statement, but this presidential election has unleashed scary themes and Trump's shoot-from-the-hip, wink-wink utterances happen nearly every day. On Tuesday, he joked that there's "nothing you can do" if Hillary Clinton is elected and appoints judges. "Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don't know." It was a brazen statement that suggested shooting a president. What more do Republicans need before they disavow this guy? The Secret Service said it was aware of the comment, but come on, if anyone else had said something like that agents would descend so fast it would make their head spin.

Instead of groveling to Christian fundamentalists, Trump should use his huuuge megaphone to pick up where his convention speech left off, letting evangelicals know that Orlando just suffered an unspeakable rampage and LGBT people should be respected. Or he and Rubio should pull out of the conference, but neither is likely.

It's clear that Trump is stuck in primary season; he's been unable or unwilling to pivot to the general election, when voters want to hear policies and plans. Instead, he keeps up the name-calling, belittling, and gay-baiting and thinks that just because he said "LGBTQ" a couple of times that he's got gays on board.

We doubt it, aside from the small number of gay GOPers, who are so struck by their love affair with small government that they can't see Trump for what he is: an unapologetic fear-monger who will not make government leaner (or great again). Trump is in this race for one reason only " himself. That's evidenced by his complete lack of campaign discipline, his blatant disregard for the facts, and his juvenile behavior. Trump doesn�t give one iota about LGBT people, and gays should return the favor.