Steve Bannon wanted to invite Mike Pence to a ‘Big Gay Party’
Trump’s former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon signed off on an article inviting VP Mike Pence to a ‘Big Gay Party’.
Vice President Pence is a notorious opponent of LGBT rights who has one of the worst records on equality of any President or Vice President in recent memory.
The veep has been linked to a string of actions attacking equality protections during the Trump administration’s time in office.
His selection as Trump’s VP candidate in 2016 caused some controversy due to his homophobic views, and it was revealed this week that Trump’s chief adviser Steve Bannon was not a fan.
Emails obtained by Buzzfeed this week revealed that Bannon, who runs ultra-conservative website Breitbart, was not a fan of Pence when he was selected.
In private exchanges with Breitbart columnist Milo Yiannopolous, Bannon described Pence’s selection as “unfortunate”.
He said: “This is the price we pay for cruzbots and #nevertrump movement. An unfortunate necessity…very.”
Addressing a potential article from Yiannopolous criticising Pence, Bannon said: “Feel free to do whatever u want. we, as always, will remain above it all.”
Despite his public insistence that he supports the Trump agenda on equality, behind closed doors Yiannopolous admitted he was “ambivalent” about Pence and that he “seems like a bad pick”.
Yiannopolous later shared a proposed column with Bannon, titled “Dear Gov Pence: Please Come To Our Big Gay Party for Trump!”
The column notes that many are “distressed by Pence’s stance on gay rights”, but extends an invite to a gay party in support of Trump.
Yiannopolous wrote: “Governor, this column is your invitation to join us, and learn what makes LGBT conservatives a vibrant and fabulous branch of the big-tent coalition that Daddy Trump is building.
“Making Mike Pence Fabulous Again goes hand in hand with making America great again.
“Donald Trump is the natural choice for gays. Look at who he is running against– there is no question who put twenty pence in Hillary Clinton: it’s the Saudis and friends! Donald Trump speaks for himself and America, and Governor Pence won’t slow down the Trump train.”
Bannon personally signed off the column and headline, confirming: “I’m cool.”
Yiannopolous said: “It’s a little mocking but we want to turn the screw.”
Of course, attempts to dampen the anti-LGBT agenda of Pence were a monumental failure. With Pence’s backing, the administration has set out to undermine protections for LGBT people across the federal government, in a series of decisions reversing Obama administration guidance.
The Justice Department issued a directive last week protecting “the right to perform or abstain from performing certain physical acts in accordance with one’s beliefs”, granting an unlimited license to discriminate against LGBT people based on religion.
The Trump administration also rolled back civil rights protections for transgender people, and made an uninvited intervention into a discrimination case this year to argue against discrimination protections for gay employees.
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One video released by Buzzfeed shows Yiannopoulos singing ‘America the Beautiful’ at a far-right karaoke event, attended by self-described neo-Nazi Richard Spencer.
Spencer and many other in the crowd are clearly visible in the clip performing Nazi salutes directly in front of the stage as Milo sang without any objection.
In a statement Yiannopoulos claimed that he has “severe myopia” that made it impossible for him to see the Hitler salutes, just feet away.
The email trails also reveal that Yiannopoulos had communicated with Andrew Auernheimer, the admin of neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer – as well as self-described white nationalist Devin Saucier.