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Politics

Trump campaign reportedly considering whether to weaponise transphobia to save the president’s flailing re-election bid

Patrick Kelleher August 7, 2020
Donald Trump

Donald Trump (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

Conservatives in America are reportedly hoping Donald Trump will weaponise trans rights in an effort to revitalise his failing re-election bid.

Polls suggest that Trump’s campaign is on thin ice, and some Republicans are now hoping that the president will launch an attack on trans people in an effort to gain popular support from conservatives.

Terry Schilling, the conservative campaigner behind the American Principles Project (APP), is planning to launch anti-trans adverts in Michigan attacking Joe Biden for his support for trans rights, Politico reports.

Schilling is reportedly hoping that the adverts will win votes from conservative-leaning Democrats – and if they’re successful, he would like to see Trump cash in on anti-trans rhetoric in an effort to win the election.

Conservative campaigner hopes that Donald Trump will launch an attack on trans rights to win popular support.

“The Democratic Party has run circles around us without any opposition because the vast majority of Republicans shy away from these issues in favour of business and tax topics,” he told Politico.

“What I’m hoping is that once we release these ads and numbers start to move, the Trump campaign will see it’s a powerful issue that the Republican Party can use to its success.”

Schilling has not yet pitched the idea directly to the Trump campaign, saying: “I don’t want to cross any lines since we’re touching a very personal issue.”

The president’s closest advisors are apparently divided on whether an attack on trans people would win support for his ailing campaign.

Some reportedly see “cultural wedge issues” such as trans rights as a key to reigniting his campaign – but others believe the Republican party’s attacks on the LGBT+ community are costing them votes.

Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner are apparently against the idea, believing that weaponising trans rights could cost him the election.

Other advisors such as Hope Hicks, a public relations consultant, and Pat McCrory, the former governor of North Carolina, are also opposed to Trump launching a broadside against trans people.

An unnamed senior advisor claimed: “This might become a hot cultural issue, but it’s not a thing yet. Right now, it’s just an easy issue for the other side to attack us on. They will call us bigots.”

Anti-trans advisors want Trump to weaponise trans identities in his re-election bid.

However, Trump is thought to have a number close of anti-trans advisors who hope he will initiate an attack on the community, such as Concerned Women for America activists Doreen Denny and Penny Nance.

The Trump administration has already delivered a number of shocking attacks on the trans community throughout his presidency – but the president has tended to avoid speaking on the issue personally.

Schilling believes that Trump is waiting for the ideal moment to launch an attack on trans people in order to win popular support from conservatives.

One Republican who speaks with Trump on a regular basis said: “It’s gross negligence to avoid the transgender debate and treat this suite of issues as irrelevant.”

However, another former official from the Trump administration said the strategy would be “risky” if Trump decides to go with it.

“Until these issues saturate the mainstream, there is no reason the president should be mentioning them on the campaign trail,” the official added.

 

More: Donald Trump, Transgender

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