Donald Trump sent a message to the LGBT community on Twitter on Friday, the start of LGBT Pride Month, and is being slammed for being disingenuous. After banning transgender service members from serving in the United States military, the president attempted to celebrate "the outstanding contributions LGBT people have made," and touted the freedom members of the community have in the U.S.
Trump, 72, tweeted that he was standing "in solidarity" with LGBT folks living in countries which "punish, imprison, or even execute" people for their sexual identity. He alleged that he and his administration are working on an international campaign that would "decriminalize homosexuality," asking nations the world over to join in.
The message came on the coattails of his administration proposing legislation that would allow health care providers to discriminate based on gender identity — a major setback for the transgender community — according to TMZ. Trump's Twitter mentions quickly filled up with users bashing him as an enemy of the LGBT community, touting his many efforts to bring them down.
"Invite yourself and Pence to join this effort first!" one Twitter user wrote.
"Your statement (which is great) doesn't match your actions (which are poor)," another commented.
"EXCEPT if someone who is LGBTQ wants [health care] — then ANYone in the US can deny them simply because [their] religion is homophobic," a third Twitter user responded. "Own up to the ways your administration is actively working to strip LGBT folks of their rights."
"As long as they aren't serving in the military, right?" another tweeted.
"Gonna guess Mike [Pence] ain't behind this, just sayin," a Twitter user wrote.
Not everyone was opposed to Trump's message. In fact, some LGBT conservative groups have celebrated it as a feat of progress. Gregory T. Angelo, former president of the Log Cabin Republicans — a prominent conservative LGBT group, tweeted that he had "Been waiting all my life for a republican to show this kind of leadership."
"THANK YOU PRESIDENT TRUMP!" he added.
The group's new leader, Jerri Ann Henry, told Buzzfeed News in an email she was "thrilled" about Trump's tweets. Henry has, according to the outlet, been more critical of Trump than Angelo was.
"In his statement, the president mentioned his support of the many LGBTQ individuals around the world who are wrongfully persecuted for their sexual orientation," she said. "We look forward to working with him to ensure the policies in this country are nondiscriminatory as well."
Trump hasn't responded to the backlash, despite it gaining serious attention in the media. Buzzfeed News reported that the president is the first Republican leader to acknowledge LGBT Pride Month. While that alone is major, Trump and his administration have made their stance on LGBT issues clear, having taken a number of opportunities to set the community back and attack its members civil rights.
In addition to proposing legislation to deny transgender people access to necessary health care, and taking steps to effectively ban transgender service members from military service, Trump has proposed laws that would allow homeless shelters to turn away transgender individuals, Buzzfeed reported. TMZ noted that he also allowed the Pentagon to introduce a controversial new policy under which trans military men and women would be diagnosed with gender dysphoria and would be barred from taking hormones or getting gender-affirming surgery.
Still, Trump has tried to paint himself as a friend of the community. Last week, according to Buzzfeed News, he was selling LGBTQ for Trump rainbow shirts as a fundraising effort for his reelection.
While vying for the White House, Trump touted himself as an ally of the LGBT community. He said he was "better" for the LGBT community and women than Hillary Clinton, whom he was running against.0comments
"Believe me, I am better for the gay community, I am better for women than [Clinton] will ever be on her best day," he said while speaking in Raleigh, North Carolina on July 5, 2016.
"Ask yourself who is really the friend of women and the LGBT community, Donald Trump with actions or Hillary Clinton with her words?" He said during another speech in Manchester, New Hampshire that same year.
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