A new book from Sean Spicer reveals that a Trump speech declaring support for the LGBTQ community was nothing but political payola.
While accepting the presidential nomination at the 2016 Republican National Convention, the 72-year-old pledged he would “do everything in [his] power to protect our LGBTQ citizens.” Press coverage lauded Trump as the “first GOP nominee to mention LGBTQ citizens in [his] acceptance speech,” while Log Cabin Republicans President Gregory T. Angelo would subsequently describe him as the “most pro-LGBTQ Republican president in history.”
Meanwhile, C-SPAN’s clip of the sound bite was titled “Trump Loves Gays” on its website.
A book released by the former press secretary on Tuesday, however, alleges that the president does not, in fact, care about the LGBTQ community. In The Briefing: Politics, The Press, and The President, Spicer claims the declaration was made to appease “Never Trumpers” who hoped to block his presidential nomination.
As People magazine originally reported, anti-Trump delegates circulated a petition ahead of the convention to contest his candidacy — urging delegates to refuse to cast their votes for him.
But Spicer’s book claims that Trump’s campaign team sought to appease his opposition through political payoffs.
“[Trump campaign chairman Paul] Manafort and his lieutenants went one by one down the list of people who had signed the petition and persuaded them to remove their signatures,” he writes. “How Manafort and company did this was a scene out of 1950s politics — alternating between carrot and stick and sometimes bat, even, at one point, conveniently making the convention’s parliamentarian unavailable to keep the opposition from formally submitting their petition.”
“The Manafort message was clear: Trump will be our nominee and our next president, and anyone who didn’t want to work to that end could spend the next four years in political Siberia,” the former White House official continues.
One of the delegates had a specific request before he was willing to remove his name from the “Never Trump” petition. Robert Sinners, an at-large delegate from Washington, D.C., urged Trump to support LGBTQ rights after claiming to be a “friend” to the community in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting.
Spicer claims the two parties struck a deal over the issue.
Promising the conservative “would be the most ‘inclusive’ candidate the Republican Party ever had,” Trump’s team told Sinners that Trump’s “acceptance speech would acknowledge the LGBTQ community.”
In return, Sinners “officially removed his name from the petition,” Spicer writes.
The White House has not responded to requests for comment about Spicer’s claims, but the president’s record on LGBTQ rights perhaps speaks for itself. Since his inauguration in January 2017, Trump has consistently rolled back LGBTQ rights in nearly all aspects of public life — including employment, housing, education, and health care.
This includes an attempted ban on trans people serving openly in the military and a newly created office in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that permits discrimination against LGBTQ people in the name of faith.
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