Fox News anchor Shannon Bream -- part of the network’s purported “news” side -- hosted gay Trump campaign adviser and former acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grennell in a segment that whitewashed anti-LGBTQ extremism coming from the Republican Party and Trump-Pence administration.
On August 20, Grenell joined the Republican National Committee (RNC) as a senior adviser focusing on LGBTQ outreach. The RNC has an explicitly anti-LGBTQ platform, and the Trump-Pence administration has delivered on it with countless discriminatory policies. Grenell has used his past positions in the administration, including in the intelligence community, to help Trump politically, and he has used Twitter to make disparaging remarks about women.
During his appearance on the August 20 edition of Fox News @ Night, Grenell lied that “five, six, seven years ago, the Republican Party really came to the point where it started to be fine and even get good on gay and lesbian issues” and claimed that the party is “trying not to have identity politics.”
Bream did not correct Grenell’s lie, and she also enabled him to ignore a question she asked about the Trump-Pence administration’s anti-LGBTQ policies. Grenell responded, “The only way that they get to make progress on these issues is that they try to make all of the equality issues a partisan issue.”
Bream regularly hosts anti-LGBTQ guests who misinform and fearmonger about queer people, particularly demonstrated by her cozy relationship with extreme anti-LGBTQ group Alliance Defending Freedom. She also serially misgenders trans people, a form of harassment that goes against journalistic standards.
In June, the RNC -- Grenell’s new workplace -- renewed its 2016 platform, which calls “for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, objects to use of federal law to ensure transgender people can use the restroom consistent with their gender identity and makes veiled support for widely discredited conversion therapy.” Anti-LGBTQ extremist and president of the Family Research Council Tony Perkins helped draft the platform. In 2016, gay Republican group Log Cabin Republicans acknowledged that the party’s platform is “the most anti-LGBT platform in the Republican Party's 162-year history”; nevertheless, the group tweeted a video of Grenell on August 18 calling Trump “the most pro-gay president in American History.”
These tenets of the GOP platform have shown up in countless discriminatory policies and positions from the Trump-Pence administration. The Human Rights Campaign has documented the administration’s onslaught of extreme anti-LGBTQ attacks, which include attempting to allow medical providers and homeless shelters to discriminate against LGBTQ people at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, supporting legalized workplace discrimination against LGBTQ people, and banning trans people from serving in the military.
Notably, during his segment with Bream, Grenell referred only to “gay and lesbian issues” and ignored the plight of trans folks under the Trump-Pence administration. Trans journalist Katelyn Burns noted on Twitter that Grenell’s appearance could foreshadow “an all out assault on trans people” from the GOP.
Earlier this month, Politico reported on the conservative anti-LGBTQ group American Principles Project’s attempt to sway the GOP to use trans people as a wedge issue in the 2020 election. During the 2019 Kentucky gubernatorial race, the group was responsible for a series of anti-trans TV ads that used the state as a “testing ground to see how transgender issues could rally support for President Trump.”