Donald Trump will become the first sitting U.S. president to attend the annual Values Voter Summit on Friday, where he is scheduled to give the keynote address.
The anti-LGBTQ hate group Family Research Council, which has been putting on the event since 2006, announced Trump’s speech in a Tuesday press release. FRC President Tony Perkins claimed that since taking office in January, the president has proven himself to be an ally to conservative activists.
“Values voters have waited eight years for a leader who puts America’s mission first and respects the values that made America into a great nation,” said Perkins, who is reportedly the architect of President Trump’s ban on transgender people serving openly in the military. “Values voters are coming to our nation’s capital thankful to hear from a president who is fulfilling the promises that he campaigned on.”
“Since the early days of the campaign, President Trump allied himself with values voters, promising to put an end to the eight years of relentless assault on the First Amendment,” Perkins continued.
This is actually the president’s third appearance at the Values Voter Summit.
During his first address at the annual conference in 2015, Trump was booed after referring to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as a “clown,” hinting at the tenor of his presidential campaign. After winning the GOP nomination a year later, Trump used the address to outline his pledges to evangelical conservatives, which included striking down the Johnson Amendment and repealing the Affordable Care Act.
“So let me say this right up front: A Trump administration, our Christian heritage will be cherished, protected, defended, like you’ve never seen before,” the POTUS said at the time. “Believe me. I believe it. And you believe it. And you know it. You know it.”
“That includes religious libertyremember, remember,” he added.
Trump, who once pledged to be a “friend to the gays,” made good on his 2016 remarks by passing a “religious liberty” order earlier this year. That action was then followed by a recent Department of Justice memo that LGBTQ advocates say targets queer and trans people. Signed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, it allows government entities to ignore nondiscrimination policies if they conflict with an individual’s faith beliefs.
Perkins, one of the most influential religious advisors to the president, championed that memo. He claimed that it was a sign the White House is “putting federal government agencies on notice.”
“You will not only respect the freedom of every American to believe but live according to [their] beliefs,” Perkins said.
The right-wing activist’s decades-long animus toward queer and trans people is extremely well-documented. The FRC president has compared homosexuality to pedophilia, bestiality, alcoholism, and adultery. Perkins, who once called LGBTQ rights advocates “terrorists,” has referred to the “It Gets Better” campaign as a recruitment effort. He also believes that Christians will be rounded up and put in concentration camps for opposing equality.
Perkins will be joined at the Values Voter Summit by a motley crew of anti-LGBTQ figures.
Honored guests include former Alabama judge Roy Moore, Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson, and House Rep. Steve Scalise. Scalise, who has spent his entire career opposing LGBTQ rights, agreed to attend even after his life was saved by a lesbian cop following a mass shooting in June.