Log Cabin Republicans leader Gregory T. Angelo told me last year at the Conservative Political Action Conference that President Donald Trump was “the most pro-LGBT Republican president in history.”
That was less than two months after the president’s inauguration. What about now, after Trump and his administration announced a ban on transgender people in the military; fired the entire presidential AIDS commission; decided not to collect data on LGBTQ people in the census; pulled questions about LGBTQ seniors in a health survey on the elderly; supported employer discrimination against LGBTQ people; backed allowing discrimination in public accommodations against LGBTQ people; appointed anti-LGBTQ judges to federal courts; and said he would stop investigating discrimination against trans students in bathrooms, among many other hostile actions?
Angelo is sticking by his word, and even taking it a step further.
In an interview with me on SiriusXM Progress at CPAC last weekend, Angelo implied that Trump is even better for the LGBTQ community than former President Barack Obama, at least in one way.
“This president is the first president to enter the White House who believes that marriage equality is settled law of the land,” Angelo said, referring to a “60 Minutes” interview from over a year ago in which Trump was asked about his views on same-sex marriage. He didn’t actually state his own position on the matter, but said that the issue was “settled law.”
“Barack Obama didn’t believe that when he entered the White House,” Angelo said. “Hillary Clinton only came around to that position in 2013.”
But Trump never changed his stated position from the presidential campaign, and he doesn’t actually support marriage equality. Obama and Clinton both have supported same-sex marriage for several years.
And within months of that “60 Minutes” interview, Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, making good on a promise to religious conservatives that he would install judges who could overturn the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges ruling on marriage equality.
Gorsuch’s decisions and views on “religious liberty” present a threat to LGBTQ rights. He has already written a dissent while on the high court that some legal scholars say sends an encouraging message to states that might want to challenge Obergefell.
When asked about reports that anti-LGBTQ leaders have a lot of access to Trump, Angelo responded that he himself had similar access.
“I’ve been to the White House numerous times,” Angelo said. “I’ve met with senior White House officials.”
“As I’ve long said, if you’re calling Donald Trump out for what are actual or perceived biases against the LGBT community, you have to call a spade a spade, highlighting the pro-LGBT things he has done,” Angelo said.
And yet, Angelo offered few actual examples of “pro-LGBT things” Trump has done.
He said he opposed Trump’s tweets announcing a ban on transgender people serving in the military, but excused the action as “cynical politics” meant to help a defense bill pass in a conservative Congress. He also said he thought Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was wrong to announce that the Department of Education would no longer investigate discrimination claims by transgender students regarding bathroom use, but added that she is “still pursuing other instances of discrimination against the transgender community.”
“You have to include these things,” Angelo said.
But seriously, a “pro-LGBT” president?
“The facts speak for themselves,” Angelo responded. “I don’t want to keep belaboring these points, but: [Trump] entered the White House as first president saying he supports that marriage equality is settled law of the land, sent a letter of congratulations and commemoration [on Log Cabin’s 40th anniversary], and has people in his Cabinet who support marriage equality.”
It’s hard to imagine how much lower the bar could be set.