Former Trump administration official Richard Grenell has fallen afoul of the Republican Party’s current anti-transgender bias.
Grenell, an avid Donald Trump supporter who served as U.S. ambassador to Germany and acting director of national intelligence under Trump, attempted to tout the experience of a transgender woman who attended the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last weekend.
Grenell tweeted a Facebook post by Gina Roberts, a transgender woman who attended CPAC with LGBTQ conservative group Log Cabin Republicans.
“Sharing some truth from @CPAC that DC reporters won’t acknowledge,” Grenell wrote in his tweet.
Roberts wrote in her post that CPAC was “an incredibly accepting and wonderful experience for this transgender Republican woman.”
“I worked the Log Cabin Republican booth and received nothing but respectful questions about things in the news about transgender people,” Roberts wrote. “Much better and easy to get along with crowd than any Pride festival.”
Sharing some truth from @CPAC that DC reporters won’t acknowledge.
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) March 1, 2021
But Grenell’s attempt to suggest that the conservative conference was welcoming to transgender people ran into a small problem: the transphobic responses he received from other conservatives.
“I don’t want this in my party,” Joshua Foxworth, a failed Republican candidate, tweeted in response. “This is insanity and against everything that I stand for and against Christ. If you support this, you are not a conservative.”
Lauren Witzke, failed Republican candidate and spokesperson for conservative group Hold the Line PAC, tweeted, “We’re celebrating mental illness now?”
Another person simply responded, “Disgusting.”
Trans activist and writer Charlotte Clymer noted that Grenell’s tweet “has more conservatives dunking on him and shredding this trans woman than progressives stopping by to point out that trans people can vote against their own interests, too.”
Grenell tried to shut down the anti-trans conservatives, telling Witzke that he was “celebrating that God made everyone and people being respectful. Try it.”
“Transgenderism is demonic, no matter how much $$ your donors give you to convince you it isn’t,” Witzke responded. “Is CPAC going to start advocating for chemical castrations for minors next year? Because that’s what’s coming.”
Grenell’s tweet drew other anti-transgender responses, including one person declaring that “men in wigs arent [sic] women” and another who tweeted that God “disagrees with the transgender lifestyle.”
Things quickly descended from there, with Grenell getting into a Twitter brawl with far-right figure Nicholas Fuentes after he took offense to Witzke suggesting that gay people shouldn’t be allowed in the conservative movement either.
Did I stutter? https://t.co/bvHW0oe3RB
— Lauren Witzke (@LaurenWitzkeDE) March 1, 2021
I’m not canceling her. I don’t believe in canceling.
And she migrated the issue to gays.
So you don’t welcome gay conservatives into the GOP either? https://t.co/MhUDO5kpxN
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) March 2, 2021
All in all, not Grenell’s best attempt to prove that Republicans can be pro-LGBTQ.
Last month, Politico reported that Grenell was contemplating running for governor of California should a recall attempt against Gov. Gavin Newsom succeed.
Grenell became the first openly gay person to hold a cabinet-level position after twice-impeached former president Donald Trump last year named him to be temporary acting director of national intelligence. Previously, Grenell had served as ambassador to Germany.
He frequently waded into debates over Trump and the Trump administration’s anti-LGBTQ actions, including claiming that the former president was “the strongest ally that gay Americans have ever had in the White House” — a statement that drew condemnation from LGBTQ organizations.
One GOP strategist told Politico that Grenell’s candidacy would be “a disaster. That’s a huge gift to Newsom to be able to frame the recall as Trumpists versus him.”
Another issue facing Grenell could be his lack of significant accomplishments to tout on the campaign trail. His signature achievement during his time with the Trump administration was the launch of a heavily touted campaign to decriminalize homosexuality globally, which purported to use the United States’ global influence to push countries to remove any laws that criminalized same-sex sexual relations.
The launch was undermined just days later when Donald Trump seemed unaware of the campaign during questions with reporters in the Oval Office, and 18 months after its launch it was branded a “sham” with “no major breakthroughs.”
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