Trump silent as his allies attack Pete Buttigieg for being gay

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Trump previously claimed to have a good relationship with the LGBTQ community, despite his frequent efforts to expand discrimination.

Donald Trump has been mostly silent this week as his political allies have attacked Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg for being gay, despite boasting previously that he enjoyed wide support from the LGBTQ community.

As the Washington Post noted this week, Republicans have increased their attacks against the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, as top-two finishes in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary have boosted his chances at the Democratic nomination.

Trump himself mocked Buttigieg's name on Thursday, calling him "Pete Boot-at-edge" in a radio interview with Geraldo Rivera. He has previously ridiculed the candidate for having an "unpronounceable" surname.

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Days after Trump awarded Rush Limbaugh the Medal of Freedom during his State of the Union address, the racist, sexist, and anti-LGBTQ radio host attacked Buttigieg for often kissing his husband Chasten in public.

Sebastian Gorka, a former Trump White House staffer and current far-right radio host, asked Wednesday why Buttigieg, "a homosexual man," had any right to talk about abortion rights. "I thought you're supposed to stay in your lane as a leftist. You can't comment on the lived experience of the other," he said.

Conservative commentator Ben Ferguson also tweeted Thursday suggesting that Buttigieg — a decorated former naval intelligence officer — lacks the "masculinity" to be a viable presidential candidate. Ferguson denied that he had any problem with Buttigieg's orientation, but has not taken down the tweet.

Trump has still not denounced the homophobic attacks publicly, despite portraying himself on the campaign trail in 2016 as a "real friend" to LGBTQ Americans.

In June that year, following a deadly mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that left 49 people dead, Trump spoke out against the gunman, who had sworn allegiance to ISIS during the attack.

The gunman, he said, "targeted the nightclub not only because he wanted to kill Americans, but in order to execute gay and lesbian citizens because of their sexual orientation." He said the shooting struck "at the heart and soul of who we are as a nation" and was an "assault" on Americans' right to "love who they want and express their identity."

LGBTQ Americans still solidly supported Trump's rival in that election, Hillary Clinton, by a wide margin according to exit polls.

Since taking office, Trump has moved to ban transgender military service members, eliminated non-discrimination regulations, fought against passage of the Equality Act, and appointed a host of anti-LGBTQ activists to executive branch jobs and lifetime judgeships.

But he has continued to pretend to be an ally, claiming in August that "some of my biggest supporters are of that [LGBTQ] community" and that he has "done really very well with that community."

"Some of my biggest supporters are of that community and I think that they, and I talk to them a lot about it," Trump told reporters that month. "I think I've done really very well with that community. As you know, [PayPal and Palantir founder] Peter Thiel [who is gay] and so many others, there with me all the way and they like the job I’m doing."

As recently as Thursday, in his interview with Rivera, Trump said that although "some" Americans would not vote for a gay man to be president, he was not among them.

"I think there would be some that wouldn't," he said. "I wouldn't be among that group to be honest with you."

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether Trump planned to denounce the attacks on Buttigieg.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.