If the reports are accurate, Donald Trump will be meeting today with hundreds of evangelicals (convened by dozens of Christian leaders) in an effort to get them and their followers on his side.
There are so many things wrong with this, least of which is why evangelicals would want to meet with someone who has built his reputation on open bigotry, racism, and sexism. But I guess he gave lip service to Jesus, so all his faults are forgiven… (Hillary Clinton is far more devout than Trump is, but you know the Christian leaders never even considered meeting with her.)
The meeting will bring together people like Tony Perkins, James Dobson, E.W. Jackson, Pat Robertson, and a host of other Christians known to readers of this site for their anti-LGBT, anti-women, anti-everything-that-is-good-and-decent rhetoric.
Trump is already trying to make good with those people by saying, earlier this year, that he would “strongly consider” appointing Supreme Court justices who would overturn marriage equality. Later this week, he also plans to unveil his “Religious Advisory Board,” which will likely advocate the same bigoted perspectives. I’m guessing few (if any) Muslims, Pagans, Hindus, atheists, and other non-Christians were even invited to be on that slate — though I’d be shocked if any of them accepted the offer.
Despite all of this, Trump still claims that he’s a champion of the LGBT community:
Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2016
It’s a lie, much like everything else he says. He’s no champion of the LGBT community — and his meeting with those Christian leaders just proves it. Very few gatherings in America will ever contain as much bigotry in one place.
New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow reminds us that this isn’t just a Trump ploy. The entire Republican Party will be doing everything it can this year to whitewash their own recent anti-gay history, but we can’t let them get away with it:
Republicans want us to forget that, according to the former George W. Bush campaign manager and Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman (who has since come out himself as gay), Republicans like Karl Rove have used anti-gay marriage amendments in crucial states to help draw homophobes to the polls and benefit Republicans.
They want us to forget that although people of all political stripes have evolved on the issue of gay equality — including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton — Republicans are the trailing edge of that evolution.
No amount of the exploitation of fear and the revising of history is going to change what we know about the Republican Party and their continued abysmal record on gay rights.
If you care about LGBT issues and you want to see continued progress in that direction, it makes absolutely no sense to vote for Trump — or anyone else who would embolden the Republican Party.
If you vote for a Republican — even one who says all the right things about the issue, but whose Party platform requires opposition to marriage equality and anti-discrimination laws — you owe it to LGBT people everywhere to explain why their lives mean so little to you.
(***Correction***: This post initially said Trump would meet with dozens of Christians. He’s actually meeting hundreds of them. The event was convened by dozens of Christian leaders. Apologies for the confusion.)