Metro Weekly

Mike Pence says Trump banning embassies from flying Pride flags is “the right decision”

Embassies are banned from flying rainbow flags on flagpoles, unlike during the Obama administration

Mike Pence, Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Vice President Mike Pence has said that the Trump administration banning American embassies from flying Pride flags was “the right decision.”

Pence — no stranger to anti-LGBTQ statements or actions — said he supported the move, which led to at least four embassies — Germany, Israel, Brazil and Latvia — being denied permission to fly rainbow flags in support of Pride month.

Embassies are banned from flying Pride flags on flagpoles, as they were able to under President Barack Obama’s administration. Instead, they must hang or display Pride flags elsewhere.

The State Department argued that only the U.S. flag should fly on embassies, to which Pence told NBC News, “I support that.”

NBC News asked Pence what he would say to LGBTQ people, given a few days before news broke of the flag ban Donald Trump had tweeted in support of LGBTQ Pride Month.

“As the president said on the night we were elected, we’re proud to be able to serve every American,” Pence responded, adding, “We both feel that way very passionately, but when it comes to the American flagpole, and American embassies, and capitals around the world, one American flag flies.”

Trump was heavily criticized for his tweet on May 31, in which he urged people to “recognize the outstanding contributions LGBT people have made to our great Nation.”

While it marked the first time Trump had recognized Pride Month during his presidency, he was accused of “gaslighting” and “gross hypocrisy” by LGBTQ organizations, who pointed to the dozens of anti-LGBTQ actions of his administration since taking office in January 2017.

Just a few days after Trump’s tweet, news broke that the State Department was rejecting embassy requests to fly the Pride flag, leading to a curt response from LGBTQ media advocacy organization GLAAD:  “Remember last week when President Donald Trump was pretending to celebrate Pride Month?”

It also forced openly gay Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, a Trump appointee and supporter of the president, to deliver a pro-Trump statement to NBC News while ignoring the fact that his boss had denied the German embassy’s request to fly a Pride flag.

“The President’s recognition of Pride month and his tweet encouraging our decriminalization campaign gives me even more pride to once again march in the Berlin Pride parade, hang a huge banner on the side of the Embassy recognizing our pride, host multiple events at the Embassy and the residence, and fly the gay pride flag,” Grenell said.

Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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