Democrats: Trump ‘unfit to serve’ after addressing anti-gay groups in Orlando
The Democrats have lambasted Donald Trump for addressing anti-LGBT activists in Orlando, two months on from the Pulse club shooting.
The Republican Presidential hopeful is expected to make a behind-closed-doors appearance at the ‘Rediscovering God in America’ Renewal Project event today, exactly two months after the massacre.
Mr Trump and Florida Senator Marco Rubio claim they are merely meeting with ‘faith group’ leaders. However, many of those attending the event run groups that are actively homophobic.
America Renewal Project founder David Lane, who organised told Bloomberg News he would ask Trump on how he plans to fight “homosexual totalitarianism” and gay rights “militants”.
In a statement to PinkNews, Democratic National Convention Chair Donna Brazile and LGBT Caucus Chair Earl Fowlkes said: “Instead of honouring the memory of those we lost at Pulse two months ago, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio have come to Orlando to headline a gathering of some of the nation’s most incendiary anti-gay bigots.
“We at the DNC join all people of good conscience in expressing our solidarity with the Orlando LGBT community as they continue to grieve the deadliest shooting in American history.
“We suggest Trump and Rubio disavow these anti-gay extremists who have likened gay people to Nazis and characterised HIV/AIDS as divine ‘penalties’ for being gay.
“Failing to do so will be yet another example of the utter lack of judgment that makes Trump unfit to serve.”
The Human Rights Campaign broke down some of the anti-LGBT activists that Trump is meeting with today:
David Barton: As a member of the RNC platform committee, he helped push through anti-LGBTQ provisions this year, saying after the Republican National Convention that pro-equality Republicans, “ …turned the entire platform meeting into LGBT issues, they get CNN to run the story, and they call us narrow-minded and single-issued? My gosh, the only thing that was important to them in this thing was homosexual sex.”
Bill Federer: Claimed that LGBTQ equality would lead to Islamic rule, saying Europe, “went from a Judeo-Christian past into a neutral-secular-gay-agenda present and now it’s going into an Islamic future,”
Ken Graves: Personally cut an anti-LGBTQ equality ad that aired in Maine, saying, “What got me is how the homosexual community being portrayed in this campaign is a gross misrepresentation of how it really is,” Graves said. “You see these commercials of two happy moms, or two happy dads and happy siblings – when in fact they are not happy families. They are depressed.”
David Lane: Worked closely with groups that are deemed hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center and has a long record of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, including saying, “Let’s make it crystal clear: Those who embrace homosexual marriage and homosexual Scouting – or homosexuality in general – know little and practice nothing of Christianity.”
Mat Staver: In addition to defending Kim Davis, Staver advocated for conversion therapy – a dangerous and debunked practice that has been condemned by every major medical and mental health organisation in the country – by saying young people have “confusion” because of “the likes of a Jerry Sandusky abuser.”
An investigation recently found that Staver, who rose to fame with the hard right alongside Davis,has secretly been helping Republican lawmakers draft anti-LGBT legislation in at least 20 states, leading to a wave of anti-LGBT ‘conscience’ bills and ‘bathroom bills’.
Despite being embraced by Republicans across the country, Staver’s own personal views about gay people are shockingly extreme. He recently directly equated LGBT rights activists and paedophiles.
He said: “We’ve opened the door for every rapist and paedophile. Frankly, when you look at some of the people behind the North Carolina [LGBT anti-discrimination] law and some of these other laws, who are they?
“They have been identified, some of them that have been advocating this, as paedophiles. Some of this is being financed by those who are actively promoting paedophilia.”
Staver has also previously claimed children will soon be forced into same-sex relationships, while his wife, Liberty Counsel’s president, says she brings a handgun to the toilets to scare off trans women.
JoDee Winterhof of the Human Rights Campaign said: “Just when you think Donald Trump and Marco Rubio couldn’t go any lower, they announce plans to court anti-LGBTQ activists in Orlando.
“On Thursday, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio are going to seek votes from people who fundamentally believe we are not equal, who support dangerous and harmful conversion therapy and who have worked to export anti-LGBTQ hate abroad.
“Donald Trump would put at risk all the progress the LGBTQ community has made over the last eight years. And we know all too well that Marco Rubio — who has refused to stand up for LGBTQ Floridians time and again — would be his loyal accomplice. Because of elected officials like Marco Rubio, LGBTQ Floridians remain at risk of being fired or denied a job because of who they are or whom they love.”