A Trump Pride roundtable discussion, described as a “sham” by queer advocacy groups, platformed anti-LGBT+ “extremists” on Wednesday (14 October).
It was revealed over the weekend, just three days before the event, that the Trump administration was to hold a Trump Pride rally on Tuesday (13 October).
The rainbow invitation contained no mention of the LGBT+ community whatsoever, and the only details revealed were that the event would be hosted by the president’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump, wife of Eric Trump, and Richard Grenell, who served previously as Trump’s interim director of national intelligence and was the first of very few gay officials in the Trump administration.
The event seemed to mostly consist of Lara Trump insisting that her father-in-law Donald was the “most pro-gay president in American history”, and a crowd of Republicans aggressively shouting “USA, USA” while holding “Trump Pride” signs.
— Kaitlin Price (@KaitlinPricee) October 13, 2020
— Casey Flores (@caseyjflores) October 14, 2020
But on the day of the rally, another bizarre, last-minute announcement was made – that a Trump Pride roundtable discussion would take place the next day (14 October), in Phoenix, Arizona.
According to the invitation, the six speakers on the panel were Chadwick Moore, Charles Moran, Rob Smith, Billy McLaughlin, Ashton Randle and Kelli Ward.
— Chadwick Moore (@Chadwick_Moore) October 13, 2020
— Vince Gil – Text VAMOS to 88022 (@realVinceGil) October 15, 2020
But the “sham” event is being slammed by LGBT+ advocates for its platforming of “anti-equality extremists”.
Kelli Ward is the anti-LGBT+ chair of the Arizona Republican Party who has a long history of opposing LGBT+ rights.
According to GLAAD, she previously described the US Supreme Court’s equal marriage ruling as “massive assault” on the rights of individual states.
She said: “The Supreme Court arrogated State powers to itself in its Obergefell v Hodges decision with sparse backing in case law and almost no Constitutional substance behind it.
“Neither ‘Love Wins!’ nor the Supremacy Clause justifies such a massive assault against State prerogatives.”
During her time in the Arizona state senate, she voted to approve the state’s so-called “religious exemptions” law, which would have allowed businesses to discriminate against queer people.
Even the state’s conservative governor Jan Brewer vetoed the law, which Ward called “one of the biggest disappointments during the time I served in the Arizona legislature”.
She had appeared on the radio show of anti-LGBT+ conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and lashed out against a trans Republican who spoke at a local rally, asking: “Really? Are we now about transgender issues in the GOP?”
Spectator journalist Chadwick Moore has previously claimed that gay people “will never be normal”, that there is “there is no such thing as a gay child”, has mocked trans people and claimed Michelle Obama is trans.
He has also insisted that the history of the Stonewall uprising is “a lie”, and that the LGBT+ community “has been transformed into yet another vehicle of social Marxism, their specific target being to confuse and chip away at norms surrounding gender, sexuality, and relationships”.
Bridget Sharpe, the Arizona state director at the Human Right Campaign, said: “The mere presence of anti-equality extremists like Kelli Ward and Chadwick Moore at this Trump Pride event is proof that his campaign’s LGBT+ outreach is a sham.
“Their extremism and anti-equality actions are rivalled only by the dangerous and destructive policies the Trump-Pence administration has perpetrated against LGBT+ people over the last four years.
“Nobody who knows the history of these extremists can listen to a word they say and believe they are an allies in our fight for equality.
“The Trump-Pence record is nothing to be proud of – it has actively endangered LGBT+ lives while we still have so much to accomplish.
“Starting outreach in mid-October will not cut it, and LGBT+ and pro-equality voters will send Trump and Pence packing in November in favour of true allies and champions of equality in Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.”