The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) serves as the ideological kommissar of the Republican party. Driven by the most extreme elements on the right, CPAC determines who is a real conservative and who is not.
Needless to say, gay groups have been banned from attending the annual meeting. And needless to say, President Trump will be there to cheer the group on when it holds its meeting later this month.
Trump was received with wild cheers last year as he attacked the media and immigrants. In the same speech, Trump acknowledged that CPAC was where he gave “my first major political speech.” What he didn’t acknowledge was that his presence in 2012 was solely because of a gay group.
GOProud, a now-defunct group for gay conservatives, had been the target of CPAC organizers who just didn’t want gay people at the event. The group was formally banned in 2012, but the battle had already started a few years earlier.
To prove GOProud’s conservative bonafides, Chris Barron, a co-founder of the group, went to his pal Roger Stone and asked for a favor. The favor was Donald Trump.
Trump appeared at the 2011 conference, but his star power did nothing for GOProud, which was banned the following year. Of course, Trump conveniently forgets to mention how he became a CPAC darling because of a gay intervention.
CPAC is hardly the only antigay conference that Trump likes to attend. Last October, he was enthusiastically received at the Value Voters Summit, hosted by the Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated a hate group. That same month, Trump spoke to the Heritage Foundation, which promotes conversion therapy.
Trump’s appearances at antigay gatherings is hardly surprising. His base consists of the alt-right and the religious right, both of which have an unblemished record of homophobia.
As for the GOProud founders who facilitated Trump’s introduction into political society: they both have said that they regret it. During the 2016 campaign, Barron and co-founder Jimmy LaSalvia both condemned Trump.
“I’m sorry, America. I helped Donald Trump to give his first speech as a potential candidate,” LaSalvia told CNN. “And now I’m going to work to make sure he never gives an Inauguration speech.”
Too bad that didn’t work out.