Mike Pence backed away from anti-LGBT figures before five killed in Colorado shooting

Former vice president Mike Pence appeared to take a step back from his party’s hard-right wing stand in an interview that was taped just days before the deadly attack at a gay nightclub that has been blamed on a rising tide of anti-LGBT hate.

Mr Pence was interviewed by Margaret Brennan on CBS’s Face the Nation this past week; his remarks were broadcast on Sunday.

During the interview, he was asked about the legislation which was passed by the US Senate this week, seeking to protect the rights of same-sex marriages at the federal level. Unlike other conservatives in his party, Mr Pence seemed to back away from the rhetoric that has been embraced by many far-right commentators such as Matt Walsh, Chris Rufo, and Tucker Carlson seeking to link LGBT Americans to pedophilia.

The free-flowing accusations of “grooming” against gay Americans that have emerged from this wing of the GOP has been blamed for a new wave of violence and discrimination against LGBT communities both online and in the real world.

Mr Pence instead called for his party to reject “discrimination” and added that he respected the Supreme Court’s decision establishing same-sex marriage as a right.

His remarks would seem almost prescient following the deadly attack at a LGBT club in Colorado Springs overnight that left five dead and 14 wounded, according to the police who named a suspect in the attack and said that they were in custody.

Others in the GOP have done an about-face and decried the shooting only to face anger from LGBT critics who have blamed them directly for spreading the kind of rhetoric that is being blamed for the shooting. One of those Republicans was Lauren Boebert, who was accused of encouraging such attacks on Sunday after the Colorado congresswoman shared a brief statement on Twitter.

The shooting follows a wave of bomb threats against a children’s hospital in Boston in response to a conspiracy campaign launched by far-right figures against the facility.