Speakers made no mention of the LGBTQ community directly — except to attack them.
The 2020 Republican National Convention was conspicuously devoid of any mention of LGBTQ rights, even as speakers spent the week reassuring viewers that the party was a welcome place for all.
Although Trump's actions throughout his campaign and presidency have clearly demonstrated that Trump plans to work against LGBTQ rights, Trump and those around him repeatedly sought to paint him as a champion of equality, with vague mentions of unity set alongside direct attacks on transgender people.
On Monday night, Sean Parnell, a Republican running for Pennsylvania's 17th Congressional District, said Democrats were welcome in the Republican Party, no matter "who you love, how you worship, your gender or your job."
Richard Grenell, former ambassador to Germany and Trump's former acting national security adviser, who is openly gay, also did not speak specifically about LGBTQ rights, saying only that Trump's work at home and abroad shows he cares about "the equality and dignity of every American."
On Thursday, Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, claimed, "As Americans, we work hard to overcome adversity, and we face the tough times head on, irrespective of your gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation."
The only time a speaker cited Trump's actual policy record on LGBTQ rights was when Cissie Graham Lynch, the daughter of Franklin Graham and the granddaughter of Billy Graham, highlighted Trump's fight against them.
Without mentioning trans people explicitly, Lynch thanked Trump for his rollbacks of Obama administration policies that protected transgender people from discrimination. She misgendered transgender people and accused them of predatory behavior in the process.
Throughout Trump's presidency, the administration has fought against LGBTQ equality by implementing a ban on trans people serving in the military, trying to gut protections for transgender patients and homeless people, and refusing to acknowledge the U.S. Supreme Court's historic ruling on discrimination against LGBTQ people. GLAAD has accounted for 172 attacks in total on the LGBTQ community since Trump became president.
Despite this, administration and party officials have continued to tout Trump's supposed accomplishments on LGBTQ rights.
In July, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany claimed Trump has a "great record when it comes to the LGBTQ community." When a reporter pressed her on whether he would reconsider his ban on transgender people serving in the military, McEnany dodged the question, responding only, "We're very proud of our achievements."
Grenell has also praised Trump's record on LGBTQ rights, appearing in a video for the Login Cabin Republicans earlier this month, ahead of the convention, saying, "President Trump is the most pro-gay president in American history. I can prove it."
That video attacked Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, and included inaccuracies and distortions about both Biden's and Trump's records on LGBTQ rights.
As for Grenell's "proof" of Trump's "pro-gay" stances, the former ambassador cited a U.N. campaign to decriminalize homosexuality that Trump didn't seem to be aware of when asked about it in February last year.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.