Last week, Donald Trump retweeted a video from a right-wing organization “representing LGBT conservatives and straight allies” and noted that it was his “great honor” to support the LGBTQ+ community as he has.
The video was originally released by Log Cabin Republicans and features Richard Grenell, the former U.S. ambassador to Germany and an openly gay conservative. In the footage, Grenell claims that Trump is the first U.S. president to be “pro-gay marriage from his first day in office.”
My great honor!!! https://t.co/kh2a5yumef
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 20, 2020
“There are millions of patriot gay Americans who are sick of being told to sit down and shut up by those who want to control us,” Grenell goes on to say. “They try and bully us into silence.”
The main point of the video is to position Trump as the more “pro-gay” candidate than Biden, although many of the evidence used is taken out of context or otherwise manipulated. One of the key highlights by Grenell is a 1974 comment from Biden in which he calls gay people a “security risk” if given access to intelligence. Much of the quote was left out of the video.
“Joe must have been terrified when Donald Trump appointed me as acting director of national intelligence,” Grenell says in the circulated video. “The fact I’m gay didn’t even faze Donald Trump. Joe Biden certainly didn’t congratulate the appointment, or even acknowledge it.”
While Biden was opposed to same-sex marriage in the 1990s and even voted in favor of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as a heterosexual union, he has heavily and progressively evolved on his LGBTQ+ stances. As Obama’s Vice President, Biden pushed the President to publicly support marriage equality. He’s even released a comprehensive 17-page plan about advancing LGBTQ+ rights, including passing the Equality Act, banning conversion therapy, and reversing the ban on transgender military service.
Grenell then moves on from bashing Biden to endorsing Trump as having “done more to advance the rights of gays and lesbians in three years than Joe Biden did in 40-plus years in Washington.” The video features no criticism of Trump’s stance on LGBTQ+ rights — probably because there’s so much to cover. From the administration removing any mention of LGBTQ+ people on its official website within hours of Trump taking office to opposing anti-discrimination laws in places like work and the healthcare system for the LGBTQ+ community, Trump’s track record does not make him the “pro-gay” president that the video seems to promote.
Ironically, Grenell also has anti-LGBTQ+ actions in his history. In 2019, Grenell spoke out against candidate Pete Buttigieg for attacking “friend” Mike Pence over his anti-LGBTQ+ record that includes passing a law during his time as Indiana’s governor allowing businesses to refuse to serve the LGBTQ+ community.