President Donald Trump reportedly held a White House meeting with a hard-right group who condemned transgender people and same-sex marriage.
Ginni Thomas is on the extreme fringes of the Republican Party. Her husband voted against same-sex marriage in 2015 and said last year that gay rights were favoured over gun owners’ rights, just days after a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
The NYT‘s sources also reported that a female member of the group said women shouldn’t serve in the military because they don’t have as much muscle mass or lung capacity as men.
The meeting, which reportedly took place after being delayed for months, happened after the president and his wife Melania Trump had dinner with Clarence and Ginni Thomas, three of the aides involved said.
Other attendees at the meeting included Connie Hair, the chief of staff to anti-LGBT Republican congressman Louie Gohmert.
Gohmert, who represents Texas in the House of Representatives, has compared gay rights activists to Nazis and said gay people shouldn’t serve in the military because they’d “sit around getting massages all day.”
Also present in the Roosevelt Room were Frank Gaffney and Rosemary Jenks, who work for anti-immigration groups the Centre for Security Policy and NumbersUSA, respectively.
Donald Trump has met with far-right activists in the past
Trump has a history of agreeing to meet with hard-right anti-LGBT activists.
In 2017, less than a year after being elected, he became the first US president to address the Values Voter Summit, a conference hosted by recognised anti-LGBT hate group the Family Research Council.
“I pledged that in a Trump administration, our heritage would be cherished, protected and defended like you have never seen before.”
— Donald Trump
During his chilling defence of “religious liberty,” the president said: “I pledged that in a Trump administration, our heritage would be cherished, protected and defended like you have never seen before.”
He has since moved to attack LGBT+ rights by signing an executive order which launched an initiative to strengthen the influence of religious groups in government.
The Establishment of a White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative, signed in May 2018, was aimed at ensuring “the faith-based and community organisations that form the bedrock of our society have strong advocates in the White House and throughout the Federal Government.”