As the curtain rises on the Republican National Convention, LGBTQ organizations are pushing back on the Trump campaign’s newest attempt to woo queer voters.
The president’s campaign is calling Trump “the strongest ally that gay Americans have ever had in the White House,” but a new ad produced by GLAAD says otherwise.
The anti-Trump advertisement, which will target Fox News voters the week of the convention, shows a gay man speaking with his Trump-supporting mother about the president’s opposition to the Equality Act and other proposed protections for LGBTQ Americans.
“Ma, do you know that I could be evicted for being gay? Or turned away at the ER?” the man tells his mother in the ad, which will air on Fox & Friends every morning of the Republican National Convention. “Donald Trump opposes the bill that would change that.”
The ad is the latest rejoinder to the Trump’s campaign’s expanding overtures to LGBTQ voters, which include naming longtime loyalist and former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell as the Republican National Committee’s newest senior adviser on outreach to the community, as well as the launch of “Trump Pride,” a coalition of gay Trump supporters “dedicated to re-electing President Trump, the first President to begin his presidency in support of marriage equality.”
“President Trump is the most pro-gay president in American history—I can prove it,” Grenell says in an ad released last week by Log Cabin Republican as part of the initiative, wearing a rainbow-colored MAGA hat. “There are tens of thousands of gay conservatives just like me who also won’t be silent. Gay people don’t have to vote Democrat because Donald Trump is the most pro-gay president in American history.”
Grenell contends that former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee who has leaned heavily on his early support for same-sex marriage when pursuing LGBTQ votes, has a much longer history of supporting policies that were damaging to the community.
“As a United States senator, Joe Biden said gay people couldn’t receive security clearances because we would be a security risk,” Grenell said in the ad, in reference to comments Biden made in the 1970s. “As a U.S. senator, Biden supported ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and the Defense of Marriage Act. Biden voted to cut off federal funds to any school that teaches acceptance of homosexuality.”
Sarah Ellis, GLAAD’s president and CEO, told The Daily Beast that contentions by Trump Pride’s advisory board—co-chaired by Grenell—that Trump is an ally of LGBTQ Americans is manifestly wrong.
“Trump claimed he would support the LGBTQ community in his 2016 Republican National Convention speech, but what his administration has given us is exactly the opposite,” Ellis said, noting the president’s opposition to the Equality Act, a recent move by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to allow homeless shelters to ban trans people, the Justice Department’s support of efforts by some adoption agencies to turn away same-sex couples, and an amicus brief filed by the administration urging the Supreme Court not to expand Title VII protections to LGBTQ people. (That effort failed.)
“Grenell’s credibility, and his small number of conservative supporters, should be evaluated by their silence as much as by their unsupported claims,” Ellis said. “Trump’s decision to appoint Grenell did not result in changes helpful to the LGBTQ community—and his so-called effort to decriminalize being LGBTQ worldwide went exactly nowhere.”