Metro Weekly

Trump seems unaware of his own policy on decriminalizing homosexuality

President's response clashes with claims that the decriminalization campaign has the full support of the administration

President Donald Trump — Photo: DOD / Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro

Someone, please alert President Trump about his own policies.

The president appeared confused on Wednesday after a reporter asked Trump in the Oval Office about news reports touting his administration’s newly announced campaign to decriminalize homosexuality abroad.

According to the Washington Examiner, Trump responded: “I don’t know which report you’re talking about. We have many reports.”

The campaign, which is being spearheaded by U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, is working with European allies on how best to put political pressure on nations — especially those in Africa, the Middle East, and the Caribbean — where homosexuality, transgenderism, or same-sex relations are punishable by prison time or death.

In total, 71 countries have laws that criminalize homosexuality, according to estimates from the U.S. State Department.

In an interview with NBC News’ Josh Lederman, Grenell, the top-ranking LGBTQ official within the Trump administration, claimed he had “bipartisan” support in pursuing the campaign, which could potentially use U.S. foreign aid as leverage to entice some of those nations to change their laws.

Grenell claimed in the interview that the campaign has the full support of the Trump administration, and that even Vice President Pence has reportedly signaled his support for the initiative.

“People understand — religious people, individuals who may not always be in the LGBTI fight — they understand that criminalizing homosexuality is absolutely wrong,” Grenell said told Lederman, referencing the recent hanging of a 32-year-old gay man in Iran.

The ambassador also reiterated in that interview that the scope of the campaign will be narrowly tailored to focus on ending imprisonment or death sentences for LGBTQ individuals, and will not focus on more controversial issues such as same-sex marriage or nondiscrimination protections in housing or employment.

“I think it’s really important that we focus on [decriminalizing homosexuality], that we can save the other fights for later,” Grenell said.

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at

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