Vice President Mike Pence confirmed that the Trump administration rejected U.S. embassies’ requests to fly the rainbow pride flag in June, LGBTQ Pride Month, saying in an interview that only “one flag should fly.”
“I’m aware that the State Department indicated that on the flagpole of our American embassies that one flag should fly, and that’s the American flag, and I support that,” Pence, speaking to NBC News’ Kristen Welker, said Monday.
NBC first reported last week that embassies in Germany, Israel, Brazil and Latvia had requested permission from the State Department to fly the flag, a symbol of LGBTQ people around the world, but they were rejected. An unnamed official at the department told CNN that the U.S. Embassy in Berlin asked to fly the rainbow flag during the city’s Pride week, as it has for many years, but got an email back saying “no. Denied.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s spokeswoman on Monday also confirmed to NBC that the department had rejected the requests, saying, “The secretary has the position that as it relates to the flagpole that only the American flag should be flown there.”
The U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, who is gay, said he plans to hang a banner on the side of the building during Pride Month.
“The President’s recognition of Pride Month and his tweet encouraging our decriminalization campaign gives me even more pride to once again march in the Berlin Pride parade, hang a huge banner on the side of the Embassy recognizing our pride, host multiple events at the Embassy and the residence, and fly the gay pride flag,” Grenell told CNN.
Trump has been lambasted over the sincerity of his messages in support of June’s Pride Month celebrations and his claims that he was launching a “global effort to decriminalize homosexuality.” His administration has taken a number of steps in recent years to roll back protections based on sexual or gender identity, including recent efforts to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. military. The vice president himself has a vast history of anti-LGBTQ views.
Pence defended the president in the interview with NBC on Monday, saying they both felt that they were working for all Americans. But the vice president said hoisting only the American flag was the “right decision.”
“As the president said on the night we were elected, we’re proud to be able to serve every American,” Pence said. “We both feel that way very passionately, but when it comes to the American flagpole, and American embassies, and capitals around the world, one American flag flies.”
He added: “I think it’s the right decision, and we put no restrictions on displaying any other flags or any other displays at our embassies beyond that.”