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Gay ex-Trump official Richard Grenell grilled on ‘sham’ campaign to decriminalise homosexuality. It didn’t end well

Nick Duffy September 7, 2020
Advisor to the President on Serbia-Kosovo Richard Grenell speaks at a press conference on September 4

Advisor to the President on Serbia-Kosovo Richard Grenell speaks at a press conference on September 4 (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty)

Trump ally Richard Grenell has responded explosively after being asked by a reporter about his “sham” push to decriminalise homosexuality.

The policy official, formerly interim national security adviser, has become dubbed “Gaslight Grenell” in recent weeks for his insistence that the Donald Trump presidency has been good for LGBT+ people.

Grenell has frequently touted a supposed campaign to decriminalise homosexuality globally, which he announced himself via a press release in 2019 — but LGBT+ campaigners say there is little evidence it exists, has been allocated any funding, or has achieved anything.

The former Trump official was challenged over the initiative on Friday (September 4) when he made an appearance at a White House press briefing to announce a Serbia-Kosovo agreement brokered by the US.

When asked about the decriminalisation initiative by a New York Post journalist, Grenell responded angrily.

Per the Washington Blade, he insisted: “I’m [here to] talk about Kosovo and Serbia. I don’t know if you can find it on a map.

“This is atrocious. I have to tell you guys. You might be too young to understand what this issue is about. Maybe the older journalists should step and say: ‘This is a big deal. This is a big issue.’

“I’m astounded at what happens in Washington DC, especially in this room. I got to tell you: get substantive. Maybe it’s too complicated of an issue for you all.”

When a second journalist noted that it is the the first opportunity to question him in the briefing room since his claims about the decriminalisation campaign, Grenell insisted: “Today’s about Kosovo and Serbia. Let’s take a little time to talk about this 21-year issue here.

“We’re getting the same questions that are all politics. You guys don’t understand anything outside of Washington DC.

“People aren’t listening to you anymore. It’s really a crisis in journalism. How about a substantive question?”

It is unclear how a campaign to decriminalise homosexuality globally  could be classified as not “outside of Washington DC”.

Trump official Richard Grenell
Trump official Richard Grenell (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

‘Gaslight’ Grenell does not enjoy being challenged on LGBT+ issues

Grenell, who has the unenviable job of LGBT+ voter outreach on behalf of a Republican Party whose platform explicitly attacks LGBT+ rights, often has a negative reaction when confronted over his cognitive dissonance.

He recently called on corporations to cut ties with the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT+ rights group, because they were mean to him.

After HRC noted his speech at the Republican National Convention made no commitments on LGBT+ rights whatsoever, Grenell raged: “Corporations who give money to Human Rights Campaign are supporting ugly partisanship.

“US businesses should stop giving to HRC or give the same amount of money to conservative gay groups like  [the Log Cabin Republicans].”

HRC responded: “Gaslight Grenell strikes again.”

More: Donald Trump, Gaslight Grenell, Republican, richard grenell

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