President Donald Trump plans to nominate former U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), known best for his anti-LGBTQ views, to head the Export-Import Bank.
Garrett lost his 2016 re-election bid in what was considered a relatively safe Republican district after Wall Street donors — the bulk of his financial support — abandoned him over anti-gay comments he had made.
In 2015, Garrett told fellow Republicans in a closed-door meeting that he was refusing to pay his dues to the National Republican Congressional Committee because it had supported openly gay candidates Richard Tisei and Carl DeMaio during the 2014 cycle.
Garrett later clarified that he doesn’t oppose gay people running for office. But he does believe that the national GOP should not be spending money to support candidates who support same-sex marriage.
During his years in Congress, Garrett was a consistently against any sort of LGBTQ rights, voting against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 2007, and voting against an LGBT-inclusive version of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act in 2013.
National Democrats sought to paint Garrett as anti-gay, even flying an airplane banner over the Jersey Shore on July 4, 2016 to inform voters of his record. He was later defeated by U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, the first Democrat to represent the district in 30 years.
Trump’s tapping of Garrett for the Export-Import Bank raises many eyebrows in Washington, not the least of which was his opposition to the bank during last year’s presidential campaign. (He has since reversed that position.) Garrett too, opposed the institution as a congressman, calling it a “corporate welfare program,” reports The Huffington Post.
Additionally, Garrett’s well-known anti-gay record will likely increase criticism of Trump, who is already under fire for nominating several cabinet or high-level administration members with anti-LGBTQ views or records.
Most recently, Trump nominated Tennessee State Sen. Mark Green, who has criticized attempts by the federal government to ensure that LGBTQ people aren’t discriminated against, to be Secretary of the Army. Green would replace Eric Fanning, the first openly gay man to lead a major branch of the military, which some Trump critics have argued signals a shift towards a less welcoming attitude regarding openly LGBTQ service members.
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