When it comes to LGBTQ rights and the Republican Party, apparently there are folks who sincerely believe that Donald Trump is the best the GOP is going to get on the issue to the point where they freely say they will continue to back him over Hillary Clinton folks like California GOP delegate Charles Moran.
As Trump’s chances of winning the election appear to continue to drop in the waning days of his campaign, many gay conservatives, an unexpected segment of the Republican Party, are still backing him.
“Donald Trump is the best candidate that the LGBT community has ever seen come out of the Republican Party,” Moran said. “We see a consistent line from Donald Trump that being pro LGBT and pro inclusion is a good business decision and I believe he’s going to bring that with him in the White House."
Trump earned a lot of credibility with gay Republicans when he became the first GOP presidential nominee to positively refer to the gay community in a convention acceptance speech, saying, “As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology. Believe me.”
When that comment drew applause from the audience, Trump then ad-libbed -- “And I have to say, as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said. Thank you.”
Moran said he was not expecting Trump to talk about the LGBTQ community in that speech.
“Right after his speech people were starting to text me, ‘What does the ‘Q’ stand for?’” Moran said. “So I said, ‘It’s either queer or questioning’ -- an instructional moment. And I like being able to have those with the Republican Party.”
Moran points to Trump’s LGBTQ inclusiveness at Mar-a-Largo -- Trump’s Florida country club -- where he says Trump broke with tradition by allowing gay members. Moran also notes that Trump publicly supported Elton John’s marriage to David Furnish.
“We see a consistent line from Donald Trump that being pro-LGBT and pro-inclusion is a good business decision and I believe he’s going to bring that with him in the White House,” Moran said.
Despite the fact that Trump’s Christian conservative running mate Mike Pence enacted anti-LGBTQ laws as governor of Indiana, such as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Moran said he’s comfortable with Pence because he’s “not running for president.”
Moran notes that Pence later amended the religious freedom law after meeting with LGBTQ groups, which he says shows Pence is willing to listen.
Moran said he does get a lot of flak from his friends for being a Trump supporter.
“The running joke is that it’s so much easier to be gay in the Republican Party than it is to be a Republican in the LGBT community,” he said.
And it's easy and reductive to call Moran "self-hating" and throw up your hands and say "what is wrong with them?" but that's as unfair as saying that about black Republicans or Latino Republicans or Asian Republicans who still support Trump.
My problem is wondering how you're still Republican at all with Trump as your candidate given the abject awfulness of his behavior and the rest of his stated platform. As I've said before, the problem with Trump as the GOP candidate is not Trump, but the people who selected and accepted him as the nominee. They are the folks who threw up their hands and said "Well, he's not Hillary."
When you stand for nothing, and are against everything that's happened over the last eight years in the White House, you get Trump. And these are Republicans who find Trump OK and Mike Pence to be a bridge too far?
PS, the official platform of the GOP on LGBTQ rights are "you have none."