Trump campaign's last-ditch 'outreach' to LGBTQ voters failed spectacularly

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The Trump campaign claimed it wanted the votes of LGBTQ voters. It didn't get them.

New post-election polling shows that the so-called LGBTQ voter outreach effort of Donald Trump's 2020 presidential campaign, called "Trump Pride," failed hard with its intended audience.

The survey results, released by the GLAAD, an organization that monitors the media for discrimination in coverage, show that 81% of all LGBTQ voters chose Joe Biden for president compared to 14% who voted for Donald Trump. Among first-time LGBTQ voters, the percentage was even higher, with 86% of their votes going to Biden versus 10% for Trump.

Trump's and Biden's records on LGBTQ equality are worlds apart.

Trump has spent the past four years attacking LGBTQ equality in the courts and throughout federal agencies and opposing pro-equality bills.

Biden has promised to prioritize the Equality Act, a federal bill prohibiting anti-LGBTQ discrimination, in his first 100 days in office and has said he would immediately work to reverse anti-LGBTQ Trump administration rules.

The Trump campaign officially announced its LGBTQ outreach program in August. Trump Pride events were held in battleground states including Florida, Arizona, and Pennsylvania. Trump Pride event announcements often made no mention of LGBTQ people, and the events themselves usually lacked substance on issues of importance to the LGBTQ community, particularly on those of importance to transgender people.

The events featured speakers who defined support for the LGBTQ community as having personal friendships with individual LGBTQ people.

At one such event in October in Tampa, Trump's daughter Tiffany said,: "I have friends of mine who reach and say, 'How can they make up stories? How would you support your father? We know your best friends are gay.'"

The younger Trump did not explain how her father has politically supported LGBTQ people and stuck to platitudes about love and unity.

"There should be love for all. One love. Openly love. Come on, we're all people. We're all humans, right?" she said.

A few weeks before the election, Trump's son Eric responded to a question from Fox News host Ainsley Earhart about a type of hidden Trump voter, specifically an unidentified and avid lesbian Trump supporter described in a column in the New York Times in September by Bret Stephens.

"I'm telling you, I see it every day, the LGBT community, they are incredible and you should see how they've come out in full force for my father every single day," Trump said.

Stephens' column made no mention of Trump's record on LGBTQ rights or his subject's feelings about it.

Richard Grenell, Trump's former acting director of national intelligence, who was the lynchpin of the campaign's LGBTQ outreach efforts, boasted of Trump's friendships with gay men as evidence of his LGBTQ allyship. At a Trump Pride event in Minneapolis, he gave as an example Trump's friendship with Roy Cohn, the ruthless lawyer who worked with Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s in his hunt for supposed communists in the U.S. government and acted as an adviser to Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Cohn was disbarred in 1986 for dishonesty and fraud.

But according to a source who spoke with Vanity Fair, Trump dropped Cohn as he got progressively more ill with what he insisted publicly was liver cancer. Cohn died in 1986 of AIDS-related health issues.

LGBTQ advocacy groups have questioned whether the Trump campaign's LGBTQ outreach efforts were sincere or designed to appeal to conservatives who were supportive of LGBTQ rights but otherwise supported Trump.

Regardless of the intention behind the Trump Pride events, LGBTQ voters as a group appear to have been motivated to go to the polls because they cared about substantive policy issues on which Trump's track record is very poor. According to the GLAAD poll, LGBTQ voters said the COVID-19 response, health care, racial justice, and LGBTQ equality were "the most important issues as they decided to vote."

Lucas Acosta, national press secretary for campaigns for the Human Rights Campaign, said in response to the polling, "We always knew Trump's last-ditch effort to target LGBTQ voters was doomed from the start because we know the atrocities he's committed against our community. For the last four years, Trump and his allies have dehumanized and demeaned LGBTQ people at every opportunity. Their October epiphany was never going to change that reality."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.