Friday, August 21, 2020

The Disingenuous Mr. Grenell Has a Memory Hole

Trump is a temporary LGBTQ advocate when he thinks it favors him politically. If we have learned nothing else, Trump cares about only one person: Donald Trump. This photo makes me nauseous.
As many of you know, last Wednesday Log Cabin Republicans tweeted out a video by Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell. According to Grenell, Trump “is the most pro-gay president in American history.” On its face that is preposterous.
Presumably Mr. Grenell is fond of the job he can retain only if Donald Trump is elected in November to serve a second term.

Grenell stressed “gay” as opposed to LGBTQ. Even a toadie like Grenell isn't shameless enough to suggest that Trump is anything but antagonistic to transgender people. Here are just few reminders:
  • In January, 2016 Trump criticized the Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges claiming that it should be a states' rights issue which would create a patchwork of marriage equality states and marriage discrimination states. Trump said he would “strongly consider” appointing judges inclined to overrule Obergefell if he is elected president.
  • On November 13, 2016 Trump was more nuanced. Claiming that the 2015 ruling in Obergefell was settled law while the 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade should be overturned. That made no sense except to provide an understanding, one that has solidified over the last four years, that Trump has no core beliefs. Trump only cares about one thing: Trump.

    Trump's stated opinions reflect what Trump believes are in his personal best interests at that moment in time and not the best interests of either the nation or its citizens.
  • Lest we forget, Trump chose Mike Pence to be his running mate and, eventually, chose Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III as attorney general. Both men are exceptionally and rabidly bigoted towards LGBTQ people.

    That is precisely why Trump picked Pence in an effort to appeal to Evangelical Christians. Sessions was chosen because of his early support for Trump. Over nearly four years, Trump has prioritized loyalty over competence.
  • One of Sessions' first acts was to issue guidance that gays and trans people have no nondiscrimination protections in the federal workplace. Presumably this was with Trump's consent.
  • Trump appointed another unglued bigot, Ben Carson, to be HUD secretary.
  • Trump voiced full support for North Carolina's odious House Bill 2.
  • Trump's narcissism was in full bloom after the Pulse Nightclub shooting on June 12, 2016. 49 people died and Trump took it upon himself to use it as campaign fodder. Trump was the great friend of the LGBT community because he would supposedly keep us safer by discriminating against Muslims.
  • Hate Group Leader Tony Perkins (Family Research Council) seems to have open access to the White House and, perhaps, the Oval Office. Perkins has been appointed a commissioner of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
  • In at least three instances, the administration has supported anti-LGBTQ animus in matters before the Supreme Court.
    • In 2017 the administration filed an amicus brief at the Court in favor of discrimination in public accommodations in support of Masterpiece Cakeshop (Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado CRC).
    • In 2019 the administration filed an amicus brief in favor of permitting workplace discrimination in the case that became Bostock v. Clayton County.
    • In June of this year the administration filed an amicus brief in favor of allowing taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against gay couples. (Fulton v. City of Philadelphia)
  • Many of Trump's appointees to the federal bench have extensive anti-LGBTQ records.
  • Trump went out of his way to prohibit the service of transgender personnel in the armed forces.
  • We have seen this dishonest bullshit before, in the runup to an election:
  • Trump's Department of Labor issued a regulation designed to allow federal contractors to claim a religious exemption to fire LGBTQ workers because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. That has become moot in the wake of the ruling in Bostock but Trump was an adversary of equality.
  • In May of 2019 Trump said that he opposed the Equality Act which would, among other things, protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in public accommodations. This is consistent with the brief that the administration filed in 2017 regarding the Masterpiece Cakeshop matter.
  • In June of this year, the administration pushed through a rule that rolls back healthcare protections for transgender people
I am certain that I left out some issues. However, it is quite clear that Trump has been no friend of the LGBTQ community.

In the video Grenell points out that Joe Biden said that gay people would threaten national security with security clearances. Grenell did not mention that that was in 1973 when the threat of outing a gay federal employee would likely cost them their job.

Grenell complains that Joe Biden did not congratulate him on his interim appointment as director of national intelligence, suggesting that not doing so is indicative of anti-gay bias. Please!

Grenell claims, without offering any evidence, that Trump has done more to advance gay rights than Biden has done in 40 years of government service. Really? Where?

Grenell claims that Biden “supported don't ask, don't tell.” There is some truth to that. However DADT was intended as a means to allow gay personnel to serve in the armed forces. DADT subsequently came to be considered anti-gay but at the time was well intentioned.

Grenell claims that Biden opposed marriage equality. That is true at some point. However, Joe Biden came out in favor of same-sex marriage prior to President Obama. Apparently, Trump remains an opponent having claimed that it should be up to the states.

Grenell cites a bill that Biden voted in favor of a bill that would cut off funds to schools teaching acceptance of homosexuality. Again, that is true but that was more than 20 years ago. Clearly the former VP has evolved.

According to Grenell, “Donald Trump is the strongest ally that gays have ever had in the White House.” Grenell cites no evidence in support of that claim.

Grenell claims that Trump has been “pro gay marriage since his first day in office.” Presumably Mr. Grenell has singed balls from the pants that went aflame after that remark.

Grenell claims, as evidence of being pro-gay, that Trump appointed Grenell to one of the most important ambassadorships in the world. The appointment has not been indicative of any policies endorsed by the administration. If Grenell had any decency he would have refused the appointment given all the other things that Trump had done or said.

I would add that Obama had six openly gay ambassadors. Trump has one.

Grenell goes on to claim that the fight against Islamic terror is a fight against homophobia. Perhaps the idiots at Log Cabin Republicans believe that to be true but no one else does. Another pair of pants up in flames.

Grenell goes on to repeat a Trump lie that Obama-Biden gave Iran billions of dollars. The nuclear agreement included China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

We returned money to Iran (with negotiated interest) that belonged to Iran but was frozen. This has nothing to do with support for LGBTQ people unless you believe that our policy towards Iran has anything to do with human sexuality.

Grenell claims that Trump “began an historic campaign to decriminalize homosexuality around the globe.” If vague talk from Grenell about doing so is a campaign then it is true. They haven't actually done anything.

Grenell then accuses Biden of being indifferent to the criminalization of homosexuality elsewhere. That is untrue based on the actions of the Obama administration. Under the Obama administration embassies opened their doors to gay rights activists, hosting events and supporting local advocacy work.

The State Department spent millions of dollars on the efforts in over 50 countries through the Global Equality Fund, an initiative launched to fund the new work. The GEF, a partnership with private organizations, still exists whether it has actually done anything in the last four years is unknown.

What can Grenell cite as evidence that Trump gives a flying fart about LGBTQ rights (including the right to live) in, say, Saudi Arabia?

Grenell rails against people “who want to make equality a partisan issue.” Welcome to the Republican Party, captives of the religious right for decades. Grenell does the victim act as well, claiming that conservative gay people have been bullied and that progressive gay people are intolerant.

I think that I have heard Tony Perkins and Mat Staver claim that gay people are intolerant (of intolerance).

Bottom line: Former V.P. Joe Biden is a proven ally of the LGBTQ community. Trump? Not so much. Trump's embrace of the Christian right makes him reluctant to do anything favoring LGBTQ equality.

Given the opportunity to side with the community in court, the Trump administration has always sided with anti-LGBTQ forces.

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