Republican National Convention speakers painted a rosy picture of Trump's repeated attacks on equality.
The Republican National Convention has so far been rife with talk of inclusivity, with speakers repeatedly suggesting the GOP welcomes everyone, from every walk of life, and that Donald Trump and his administration are champions of LGBTQ equality.
"It doesn't matter what you look like, who you love, how you worship, your gender, or your job," said Republican congressional candidate Sean Parnell on the opening night of the convention. "If you are a traditional Democrat who has become disillusioned with how radical your party has become, then stand with us. You are most welcome. America needs all her patriots to rush to her defense."
Former U.S. ambassador to Germany and acting director of national intelligence Richard Grenell on Wednesday sidestepped any direct mention of LGBTQ rights but seemed to suggest Trump's agenda held no bias against them.
"America First does not advance the interests of one group of Americans at the expense of another," he said that night. "It has no bias about red and blue, educated or not educated, urban or rural. America First is simply the belief that politicians should focus on the equality and dignity of every American, and that the duty is fulfilled by promoting the safety and wealth of the American people."
Marketing in the run-up to the convention also portrayed Trump as a champion of LGBTQ rights.
"Gay people don’t have to vote Democrat, because Donald Trump is the most pro-gay president in American history," Grenell said in a video released by the Log Cabin Republicans on Aug. 19.
Trump and his administration have in fact systematically worked against LGBTQ equality and quietly rolled back existing protections since he took office in January 2017.
Trump promised in July 2016 that he would "do everything in my power" to protect LGBTQ people if elected president —against Islamic extremism, that is.
In a convention speech following the deadly Pulse shooting, in which 49 people were killed when a gunman pledging allegiance to ISIS opened fire in a gay nightclub, Trump claimed he would "do everything in my power to protect our LGBT citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology."
"Only weeks ago, in Orlando, Florida, 49 wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by an Islamic terrorist. This time, the terrorist targeted our LGBT community," he said at the time.
Some gay Republican activists, such as the president of the Log Cabin Republicans' Miami chapter, incorrectly took this as an indication that Trump would be "the most pro-LGBT GOP presidential candidate we have ever had," rather than an attack on Islam.
In his November 2016 victory speech, Trump pledged similarly "to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all of Americans, and this is so important to me."
But he did not keep that promise.
In fact, Trump has made more than 150 separate attacks on LGBTQ Americans since taking office, according to GLAAD's Trump Accountability Project.
He instituted a ban on transgender people serving in the military. His administration also rolled back Obama-era protections for transgender homeless people, students, and medical patients.
He has proposed allowing federal contractors to discriminate against LGBTQ people by citing their religious beliefs. The Trump administration has tried to deny citizenship to the foreign-born children of same-sex couples and removed LGBTQ content from government websites and anti-discrimination guidelines.
Trump's administration has also vocally opposed the Equality Act, which would add "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to existing federal nondiscrimination laws.
It was also on the losing side of the landmark Supreme Court ruling in June against anti-LGBTQ job discrimination. Trump acknowledged the defeat at the time, saying, "They ruled and we live with the decision," but has made no change to his anti-LGBTQ agenda since then.
In each of his four years in office, Trump has refused to even issue a proclamation for Pride Month.
Trump's opponent, Joe Biden, has been endorsed by major LGBTQ rights organizations.
Biden's campaign site also states that he "believes that every human being should be treated with respect and dignity and be able to live without fear no matter who they are or who they love."
"Hate and discrimination against LGBTQ+ people started long before Trump and Pence took office," the site reads. "Defeating them will not solve the problem, but it is an essential first step in order to resume our march toward equality."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.