Trump and Pence court bigotry for votes. That gets people hurt and killed.
Actress Ellen Page delivered a fiery condemnation of the anti-LGBTQ bigotry that Mike Pence has supported throughout his political career and its dangerous consequences of it.
Page spoke during an interview on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" about how people are often hurt and even killed as a direct result of the rhetoric and policies championed by Republicans like Trump and Pence.
"The president and the vice president, Mike Pence," Page said, "wishes I could not be married, let's just be clear."
"The vice president of America wishes I didn't have the love with my wife. He wanted to ban that in Indiana, he believes in conversion therapy."
For years Pence was at the forefront of anti-LGBT and radical social conservative policy while he served as governor of Indiana.
He opposed same-sex marriage. He was an advocate for gay conversion therapy. He even signed the so-called "Religious Freedom Restoration Act," which allowed businesses in the state to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans.
Page connected Pence's hateful approach to the recent attack on actor Jussie Smollett. Smollett had racist and homophobic slurs yelled at him by attackers who poured what police called an "unknown chemical substance" poured on him. A noose was tied around his neck.
"Connect the dots," Page implored, "This is what happens. If you are in a position of power and you hate people and you want to cause suffering to them."
"You go through the trouble, you spend your career trying to cause suffering. What do you think is going to happen? Kids are going to be abused, and they're going to kill themselves. And people are going to be beaten on the street."
"This needs to fucking stop," she concluded to loud applause.
Pence was added to Trump's presidential ticket to entice those who support his brand of bigotry to come to the polls and support the Republican Party.
In the presidency, Trump has actively courted bigots to keep them in line. He pushed for a Muslim ban on travel to the United States, wants to spend billions on a racist southern border wall, and is trying to ban transgender service in the military.
Trump, along with Congressional Republicans, also went all-in to install Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh is an opponent of reproductive rights and that was enough to ensure conservative support of his nomination despite credible accusations of sexual assault.
Trump even called Nazis "very fine people."
Trump is an unpopular president who is reeling from the negative press associated with his decision to shut down the federal government.
He reportedly plans to use his State of the Union speech to rally the Pence-aligned segment of conservatives to shore up his presidency.
Politico reports that Trump is telling allies "he wants to incorporate firm anti-abortion language" into his address and "potentially include an anti-abortion figure among his list of invitees."
The political calculation is clear. He's doing this because, as the outlet notes, he is hoping to "energize his evangelical supporters" and "has maintained strong support from religious conservatives who might otherwise be turned off by his persona thanks to his administration’s attentiveness to their social-conservative agenda."
Trump and Pence do not care if their support for such bigotry and intolerance hurts and kills people.
Page's speech exposed the dark cynicism hiding under the Trump-Pence ticket and the fact that the lives they hurt aren't theoretical. There are real people victimized for political gain.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.