After Orlando, Trump Pitches for LGBT Support, Still Sending Mixed Messages About Marriage
In the days after America’s deadliest mass shooting, presumed GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump is making a hard pitch for support among LGBT Americans by tying shooter Omar Mateen to radical Islamic beliefs he reportedly espoused before killing 49 people at a popular Orlando gay bar.
Earlier this week, Trump said same-sex attracted Americans should support his candidacy over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s. While the likely Democratic nominee has backed the full LGBT agenda, including redefining marriage and eliminating sex segregation in restrooms, Trump said her willingness to allow Syrian and other refugees into the country endangers same-sex attracted Americans.
An Attack on Who We Are
“Crooked Hillary wants to increase these immigration numbers very, very substantially,” said Trump at a campaign event on Tuesday. “She’s no friend of women. And she’s no friend of LGBT Americans. No friend, believe me.”
Mateen attacked the club “to execute gay and lesbian citizens for their sexual orientation,” he said. “It’s a strike at who we are as a nation. It’s an assault on the ability of a free people to live their lives, love who they want, and express their identity.”
Trump has given mixed messages with regards to the political issues often prioritized by LGBT groups. Last August, he said he believes marriage should be limited to between a man and a woman, but he also opposed a constitutional amendment making that view the law because it wouldn’t pass. “Anybody that’s making that an issue is doing it for political reasons. The Supreme Court ruled on it.”
The thrice-married Trump has said marriage should be a states’ rights issue, and that as president he would appoint judges that support traditional views on marriage and religious liberty. But he also supports workplace laws that puts same-sex sexual attractions in the same category as race or sex. According to leading social conservative Maggie Gallagher, he only “conditionally” backs the First Amendment Defense Act, a popular conservative bill that would guarantee religious liberty for business owners and others opposed to redefining marriage.
A Limited Response
Trump’s success to gain LGBT support appears to be limited, so far, with mostly small and anonymous backing. The Washington Examiner quoted three people who said they were gay and declared their support for Trump. In a post at PJ Media, an anonymous gay blogger backed Trump, saying that liberals believe “appeasing Muslims is more important than defending the lives of gay people. Every progressive who runs interference for Islamic murderers is complicit in those murders, and I can no longer be a part of that team.”
That blogger said he was writing anonymously thanks to the danger of being a public Trump backer.
One influential gay conservative who came out this week said LGBT Americans should stand with Trump. “It’s disgusting what the Democratic Party is doing right now. I’m shocked and that’s why I came out,” Gateway Pundit blogger Jim Hoft told Newsmax TV. “These Democrats, Steve, we are going to see more dead bodies, more dead mothers, babies and dead gays in nightclubs until they wake up!” In his original blog post, he called gays to “come back home to the Republican Party.”
While he declined to say whether Clinton or Trump would prove better for the LGBT movement’s goals, gay lobby Log Cabin Republicans president Gregory Angelo told The Stream that “national security is — or should be — an important issue for LGBT Americans. In his remarks in New Hampshire, Mr. Trump emphasized this point.”
Angelo previously described Trump’s views as “all over the place.” At the time, Angelo said he was encouraged that Trump
has attended a same-sex wedding, opposes discrimination against gay people in the workplace, and told a lesbian reporter that the LGBT community can expect ‘forward motion’ on equality when President Trump is in office, [but] the promise Mr. Trump has made to appoint justices to the Supreme Court who would overturn the 2015 marriage equality ruling is deeply concerning.
Some LGBT leaders are not taking so kindly to Trump’s outreach, however. Chad Griffin, President of the radical Human Rights Campaign, told CNN that “he is no friend to the LGBT community. … I bet there is not a single family member or friend or brother or sister or girlfriend or boyfriend that is suffering from this great loss that found any comfort in what Donald Trump had to say today.”
Angelo criticized people whose “knee-jerk reaction is to call someone a hypocrite simply because they are moved to offer support for a community in need,” in reaction to those like CNN’s Sally Kohn and Anderson Cooper who criticized Christians who oppose the LGBT movement’s goals yet condemned Mateen’s actions. “People who hadn’t so much as uttered the phrase ‘LGBT community’ are now stepping up to offer compassion and support. That should be embraced instead of shunned by injecting that compassion with politics.”
LGBT voters typically back Democratic candidates. In 2012, President Obama won their support three-to-one over GOP nominee Mitt Romney, and few expect Trump to make much progress in reversing that pattern.
Although, Angelo argued, “in a post-marriage equality country…the LGBT community dividing along ideological lines and eschewing traditional identity politics. There could be a shuffling of ideology among the LGBT electorate in this election cycle, but only time will tell whether that translates to more votes for the Republican nominee for president.”