As far as the LGBT community is concerned — or at least its ideological leaders are — Republican nominee Donald Trump’s pick of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate was a dud.
Trump officially announced his selection of Pence via Twitter this morning, with an official announcement coming Saturday at 11 a.m. Trump was previously scheduled to hold the announcement on Friday morning, but rescheduled it due to the recent terrorist attack in Nice, France.
I am pleased to announce that I have chosen Governor Mike Pence as my Vice Presidential running mate. News conference tomorrow at 11:00 A.M.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2016
News of the Pence pick had previously broken on Thursday, followed by exploration into and criticism of Pence’s record on a range of topics, including LGBT issues. Major LGBT organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign, the Victory Fund, and the National LGBTQ Task Force quickly set about highlighting Pence’s anti-LGBT record as a Congressman from 2001 and 2013 and since taking over as governor in 2013.
Perfectly characterizing the criticism from the generally left-leaning LGBT establishment, the Equality Forum released a statement calling the selection of Pence as “deeply troubling for LGBT Americans.”
“The selection of anti-gay crusader Gov. Mike Pence, along with the homophobic Republican Party platform and a deafening silence on the LGBT Equality Act complete a trifecta of hate from Donald Trump on LGBT rights,” Malcolm Lazin, the executive director of Equality Forum, said in a statement. “Although Trump claims he’s a ‘friend’ of the LGBT community, his rhetoric is in direct contrast to his actions which are deeply troubling and sends chills down the backs of 20 million LGBT Americans and to those who believe in civil rights for all citizens.”
Lazin also pointed to Trump’s refusal to take a position on the Equality Act, a piece of legislation that would prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination in employment, housing, credit and public accommodations, as evidence that he is not sincere about LGBT rights, which is underscored by tapping Pence as a running mate.
But disappointment is not limited to the political Left. Joseph R. Murray, II, the openly gay administrator for the Facebook page LGBTrump, is also not impressed with Pence as a second-in-command.
“Donald Trump had a Palin moment in picking Mike Pence,” Murray said in a statement. “Gov. Pence is struggling to convince Hoosiers he should be their Governor and those same struggles will come with him to the national stage. Then there is his see-saw social conservatism that had him favor a religious freedom law before he was — sort of — against it.
“My objection to Pence, though, is not rooted in some silly state law; it is based on the fact that he endorsed Ted Cruz. It is based on the fact he called Trump’s plan to restrict Muslim migration unconstitutional and offensive at a time we are at war. It is based on the fact that he will not broaden Trump’s GOP,” Murray added. “Liberals loathe him. Conservatives question him, and independents are not attracted to him. While I will support Trump regardless of his [VP] nominee, I just hope he pulls an audible and marks Pence return to sender.”
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