Sean Spicer reveals the cynical reason Trump claimed to support ‘L-G-B-T-Q’ rights
Donald Trump cynically shifted stance on LGBT rights in order to shore up support, his former press secretary Sean Spicer has revealed.
Spicer opened up about his time working for Trump in book The Briefing: Politics, The Press, and The President, which has been critically panned.
People notes that the book opens the door on the cynical motivation for the leader mentioning LGBT rights in a speech to the Republican National Convention where he was formally picked as the GOP candidate.
The convention had seen a plot from ‘Never Trumpers’ to prevent Trump from becoming the Republican presidential nominee via a roll call petition.
Spicer recalled the backroom wrangling that saw people withdraw their names from the petition, paving the way for Trump’s acceptance as nominee.
He explained: “[Trump campaign chairman Paul] Manafort and his lieutenants went one by one down the list of people who had signed the petition and persuaded them to remove their signatures.
“How Manafort and company did this was a scene out of 1950s politics — alternating between carrot and stick and sometimes bat, even, at one point, conveniently making the convention’s parliamentarian unavailable to keep the opposition from formally submitting their petition.
“The Manafort message was clear: Trump will be our nominee and our next president, and anyone who didn’t want to work to that end could spend the next four years in political Siberia. (No Russia pun intended.)”
The final person to withdraw their name from contention was Washington, DC delegate Robert Sinners.
Sinners allegedly told Trump communications advisor Jason Miller that “he wanted Donald Trump to support gay rights”.
Spicer adds: “Jason assured Sinners that Trump would be the most ‘inclusive’ candidate the Republican Party ever had.
“This is your moment, Robert… you can deliver this.”
Sinners signed “a form that officially removed his name from the petition”, and in return “Jason told Sinners Donald Trump’s acceptance speech would acknowledge the LGBT community, which no other Republican acceptance speech had done, and it did.”
In his speech Trump leveraged the Pulse gay club massacre to fulfil the commitment.
“Only weeks ago, in Orlando, Florida, 49 wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by an Islamic terrorist. This time, the terrorist targeted our L-G-B-T-Q community”, Trump said, reading LGBTQ closely from an autocue.
He added: “As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our L-G-B-T-Q citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.”
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Trump has been strongly criticised by LGBT groups since taking office, facing accusations that his officials have sought to undermine much of the progress from the Obama administration.
The Justice Department has made the most dramatic attacks on LGBT equality under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, with officials appearing in court to argue that discrimination against gay people should be legal, and seeking to undermine civil rights laws protecting LGBT people.
Trump has also pledged to sign the First Amendment Defense Act, a proposed Republican law that blocks the federal government from enforcing anti-discrimination protections or civil rights laws in cases where people acted based on “a sincerely held religious belief” in marriage.