After a campaign in which he shamelessly pandered to the LGBT community, Donald Trump has betrayed them so completely that his prior rhetoric is all but unrecognizable. He is slated to speak at the “Values Voters Summit” on Friday, hosted by the hate group Family Research Council and their extremist president Tony Perkins, a man who believes that gays should be put to death.
The speech Trump gave at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July 2016 came just one month after the deadly shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando Florida. That hate crime, sometimes referred to as a terrorist attack based on the religion of the perpetrator, claimed the lives of 49 mostly Latino gay club-goers and wounded 58 more. It was the first time Facebook’s Safety Check feature was ever used inside the United States, with users marking themselves as “safe” to let family and friends know they were okay.
Although witnesses at Pulse said they remembered the attacker being a patron of the bar — perhaps a jilted lover, even — Trump took the opportunity in that Cleveland speech to make a vow to his LGBT voters: “As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.” And what did those voters look like?
They looked like kids who believed him.
The man who became the first Republican to even mention the LGBT crowd at a national convention went on to reverse himself in every way possible.
He had already said earlier that year that transgender people should use “the bathroom that they feel is appropriate.” At a Colorado rally in October, Trump waved a rainbow flag with the phrase “LGBTs For Trump” scrawled across the middle.
But all of his promises, all of his platitudes, were meaningless.
He unilaterally made the decision to expel transgender soldiers from the military, then lied about it, saying that he had consulted with military leaders about the issue. He revoked Obama-era bathroom guidelines that favored the community in public schools. He went so far as to remove the entire section on LGBTQ rights from the official White House website.
Now that Trump’s Justice Department, under the bigoted tutelage of notoriously anti-gay asshole Jeff Sessions, has asserted that it is legal to actually discriminate against transgender employees, you’d think that Donald Trump would make sure the statement on the White House site in which he vowed to uphold protections for them would be taken down out of shame, or at least consistency. He can’t be bothered.
So what does it mean that Trump is the very first president to speak at the Values Voters Summit? It means that his hypocrisy has come full circle. It means that his lies are all finally exposed. It means that he is shameless enough to not only adopt religion in order to solidify his base, but to pander to even the extremist wing of that religion, even if they openly advocate for the persecution of the community Donald Trump once promised to protect.