WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump’s nominee to a top State Department job, R. Clarke Cooper, ran a well-known Republican LGBTQ rights group for two years and led efforts to repeal the military’s ban on openly gay and lesbian troops.
But you wouldn’t know about any of that based on the way his confirmation process is playing out for his role in the Trump administration.
The White House nominated Cooper to be an assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs in late June, and it released an extensive biography of his career when it made its announcement. Nowhere in there does it mention that Cooper, who is openly gay, was the executive director of Log Cabin Republicans from 2010 to 2012.
On Wednesday, that detail was also missing from Republican Sen. Bob Corker’s (Tenn.) glowing introduction of Cooper in his Senate confirmation hearing. Corker, the chairman of the foreign relations committee, hailed Cooper for his “distinguished career” in the Army and cited reserve assignments he has carried out since 2001.
“Major Cooper has demonstrated that he has the capacity to fulfill important responsibilities and manage others in a variety of high-pressure environments,” said Corker.
Those details, of course, are relevant to the post that Cooper has been nominated to. But he was running Log Cabin Republicans for two years in the midst of those accomplishments ― and actively pushing for LGBTQ rights, an issue this administration has fought against.
It’s not clear why the White House and Republicans won’t mention this, but it certainly appears it is because the Trump administration does not want people to know it is advancing a nominee who is openly gay and pro-LGBTQ rights.
Cooper’s tenure at Log Cabin Republicans included publicly advocating for a more inclusive GOP and lobbying Congress to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. He was a Washington Times op-ed columnist in 2012, writing about political issues from a conservative LGBTQ perspective, and in 2013 he signed onto an amicus curiae brief submitted to the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage.
Cooper’s partner attended his confirmation hearing Wednesday, and he introduced him as “my incredible spouse.”
A White House spokesman and a Corker spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment on why they glossed over Cooper’s leadership at Log Cabin Republicans.
Cooper, who now awaits a committee vote to advance his nomination, did not respond to a request for comment.