Donald Trump has tweeted his support for LGBTQ people as Pride Month officially commences.
Trump, who has thus far in his presidency refused to acknowledge June as official LGBTQ Pride Month, said that the country should recognize the contributions of LGBTQ people, while touting efforts by his administration to decriminalize homosexuality globally.
“As we celebrate LGBT Pride Month and recognize the outstanding contributions LGBT people have made to our great Nation,” Trump tweeted, “let us also stand in solidarity with the many LGBT people who live in dozens of countries worldwide that punish, imprison, or even execute individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation. My Administration has launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality and invite all nations to join us in this effort!”
….on the basis of their sexual orientation. My Administration has launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality and invite all nations to join us in this effort!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2019
The campaign, which is being spearheaded by U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, is reportedly 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.
However, Trump somewhat marred its rollout when he seemed completely unaware of the campaign’s existence when speaking with reporters in February.
And while Trump tweeting his support for LGBTQ Americans is admirable — and long overdue — it also comes at a time when his administration is being heavily criticized for its hostile attitude towards LGBTQ rights.
Just last week, the State Department announced the creation of a new panel that will push anti-gay “natural law” in discussions about human rights.
The Trump administration is also being sued for a recently enacted rule that allows healthcare providers and workers to deny care to LGBTQ people if they have a religious objection.
And last month, the administration announced plans to allow shelters to discriminate against homeless transgender people, denying them access to shelters that match their gender identity.
That’s just scratching the surface of the bigoted actions taken by Trump’s administration since he took office in 2017, such as rolling back protections for transgender students, banning transgender people from the military, revoking citizenship from the children of gay couples, consistently nominating anti-LGBTQ people for federal jobs, opposing the Equality Act, and allowing healthcare workers to refuse care to LGBTQ people.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Trump’s LGBTQ Pride Month tweet drew raised eyebrows and condemnation from LGBTQ organizations.
Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin called Trump’s tweet “gross hypocrisy.”
“You can’t celebrate Pride and constantly undermine our rights — including attacking #TransHealth, discharging #TransTroops, refusing to protect LGBTQ youth, and cozying up to dictators who brutalize & marginalize LGBTQ people,” Griffin tweeted. “This is gross hypocrisy, with an emphasis on gross.”
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, accused Trump of “gaslighting” with his tweets.
“This is gaslighting,” Ellis tweeted. “Trump and his Administration have attacked the LGBTQ community in policy and rhetoric more than 110 times. We will be holding the media accountable to ensure that they’re telling the truth about his anti-LGBTQ record.”
At least one anti-LGBTQ ally of Trump has also expressed their anger with his Pride Month tweet.
The American Family Association, which has a history of anti-LGBTQ actions and statements, demanded that Trump “stand firm” against the pro-LGBTQ Equality Act and complained that “unnatural” homosexuality was being celebrated.
“Homosexuality is not something the president should celebrate,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “It’s unnatural, unhealthy and immoral behavior. We hope he will continue to stand firm against the so-called Equality Act (H.R. 5) and any legislation that threatens religious freedom. Such legislation will use the full force of the federal government to punish Americans who don’t embrace the LGBT political agenda.”
However, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to Trump, told reporters on Friday that Trump should be “lauded” for his efforts, noting that he entered office as a supporter of marriage equality, while former President Barack Obama didn’t publicly support it until 2012.
“He’s the first president to start as president for approving of gay marriage,” Conway said. “That’s something that he should be lauded for in history.”
Former Log Cabin Republican president Gregory T. Angelo thanked Trump in a tweet, saying he had “been waiting all my life for a Republican to show this kind of leadership.”
And Ambassador Grenell urged “everyone” to support the administration’s plans to decriminalize homosexuality.
“Thank you, @realDonaldTrump for your total support from the very beginning,” Grenell tweeted. “71 countries make homosexuality a crime. This is unacceptable and everyone should join your decriminalization campaign to end this outrage.”