Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has claimed that Donald Trump’s outreach to LGBTQ people during his 2016 election campaign was little more than an attempt to drum up political favor.
Trump made history at the 2016 Republican national convention when he said he would “do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens.”
However, in his new book The Briefing: Politics, The Press, and The President, Spicer claims that Trump’s attempts to appear more moderate for the LGBTQ community was all a ruse.
Spicer writes that the Trump campaign was trying to get a group of delegates called “Never Trumpers” to not move forward with a petition preventing Trump from being confirmed as the nominee at the party’s convention. They did this by asking people to remove their signatures.
“[Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s] message was clear: Trump will be our nominee and our next president, and anyone who didn’t want to work to that end could spend the next four years in political Siberia. (No Russia pun intended.),” Spicer writes.
One such target on the petition was Washington D.C.’s RNC delegate Robert Sinners. Spicer said that in order for Sinners to remove his name, he “wanted Donald Trump to support gay rights.”
Senior Trump communications advisor Jason Miller allegedly “assured Sinners that Trump would be the most ‘inclusive’ candidate the Republican Party ever had” which led Sinners to remove his name from the petition.
“Jason told Sinners Donald Trump’s acceptance speech would acknowledge the LGBT[Q] community, which no other Republican acceptance speech had done,” Spicer writes. “And it did.”
Donald Trump addressed the Pulse shooting in Orlando, Florida during his acceptance speech at the RNC in 2016.
“As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology,” Trump said.
Trump made a similar statement immediately after the Pulse shooting, in a series of tweets and statements for which he was widely derided, after trying to use the tragedy to advance his own agenda.
“Thank you to the LGBT community!” he tweeted. “I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.”
Of course, the reality of his administration has been quite different. Trump is determined to ban transgender people from the military, his administration sided with the anti-gay baker in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, he continues to refuse to acknowledge Pride Month, and both the Justice Department and Education Department have revoked Obama-era guidelines that protected transgender people from discrimination.
Clearly not one to recognize irony, Spicer — whose book has been derided in early reviews — also describes Trump’s political style as, what else, but a unicorn.
“I don’t think we will ever again see a candidate like Donald Trump,” Spicer writes. “His high-wire act is one that few could ever follow. He is a unicorn, riding a unicorn over a rainbow.”
For a delicious slice of schadenfreude, watch Spicer try to defend both his book and his record as Trump’s press secretary in an interview with the BBC’s Emily Maitlis on the network’s Newsnight program.
Maitlis pulled zero punches, accusing Spicer of spreading “damaging” lies that “corrupted the discourse of the world.”
“This is the office of the president spouting lies or half-truths, or knocking down real truths, and you were his agent for those months,” Maitlis said, leaving Spicer struggling to defend himself.
BBC interviewer to Sean Spicer: "You have corrupted discourse for the entire world by going along with these lies" pic.twitter.com/HsvNLajwQu
— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) July 24, 2018
Watch the full interview here:
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