The Washington Post published an article portraying Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump as an ally to LGBT people one day before Trump is scheduled to speak at an event with anti-LGBT extremists and hate group leaders in Orlando, FL. LGBT advocates have denounced Trump’s appearance at the event, which is happening close to the LGBT nightclub Pulse, where 49 people were massacred two months ago.
In an August 10 blog post, The Washington Post asserted that Trump is “teaching the GOP a different way to embrace gay rights.” While the Post acknowledged that it would “be a stretch” to call Trump “gay-friendly” and noted that Trump opposes marriage equality, otherwise the piece painted Trump as a supporter of LGBT rights. The article failed to mention Trump’s long record of opposing LGBT equality, including publicly supporting federal anti-LGBT “religious freedom” legislation, supporting discrimination against transgender people, and maintaining deep ties to anti-LGBT extremists.
The Post’s article also comes two days after the Christian Broadcasting Network reported that Trump is scheduled to speak at the “Rediscovering God in America Renewal Project” event in Orlando, FL, from August 11-12. The event is stocked with anti-LGBT extremists, including a hate group leader who criticized memorials for victims of the Orlando massacre and a pseudo-historian who has questioned why the government doesn’t “regulate homosexuality” like it does trans fats. LGBT advocates, who were already criticizing Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) for his planned appearance at the event, have now blasted Trump for courting the anti-LGBT activists in Orlando.
From the August 10 edition of the Washington Post’s Wonkblog:
In the course of his campaign so far, Donald Trump has had harsh words for Mexicans and Muslims, the people of Iowa, African Americans, refugees, the parents of a dead Army captain, women, a disabled reporter and the pope. He has fashioned his political incorrectness into a personal virtue, portraying himself as a straight-talker incapable of pretense. Supporters praise this “brute honesty,” while critics accuse Trump of amplifying and taking advantage of intolerant tendencies within the GOP base.
Throughout all of this, though, Trump has refrained from launching barbs at one particular group: gay Americans.
It would be a stretch to call Trump a gay-friendly candidate — he still opposes same-sex marriage — but he supports other LGBT rights and has publicly declared himself a “real friend” to the community. In April, he broke with his GOP rivals by speaking out against North Carolina’s anti-transgender bathroom law. (He later backed off.) And last month in Cleveland, Trump brought in Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, who became the first openly gay speaker to affirm his sexual orientation onstage at a Republican National Convention.
But Trump has given us a hint of what that future party might look like. In the wake of the shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub, where a man pledging allegiance to the Islamic State killed 49 people, Trump connected his sympathy for the LGBT community with his suspicion of immigrants and Islam.
“Hillary Clinton can never claim to be a friend of the gay community as long as she supports immigration policies that bring Islamic extremists to our country and who suppress women, gays and anyone else who doesn’t share their views or values,” he said in June.