The day before President Donald Trump unveiled his new transgender military ban, late on Friday night, the White House played host to anti-LGBTQ activists.
The ban was reportedly the work of Vice President Mike Pence, alongside anti-transgender activists Tony Perkins, of the Family Research Council, and Ryan Anderson, of the Heritage Foundation.
So it’s only fitting that those with similarly dangerous views against the community should be traipsing through the White House on the eve of the announcement of the administration’s latest attack, of many, on LGBTQ people.
Among those present for the “Generation Next: A White House Forum” event on Thursday was Tyson Langhofer, of the Southern Poverty Law Center designated hate group Alliance Defending Freedom. The group is defending baker Jack Phillips, who is arguing he should be allowed to deny cakes to same-sex couples on First Amendment grounds.
Grateful for these courageous students who have stood up for their #FirstAmendment rights on their public university. @LanghoferTyson of @AllianceDefends shared their stories today at @WhiteHouse #NextGeneration event w @KellyannePolls @SarahFloresDOJ link:https://t.co/8JhvWdVwXR pic.twitter.com/bqklE8OtHR
— AllianceDefends (@AllianceDefends) March 22, 2018
Langhofer speechified and eventually asked a question about “protecting the free speech of students” during a panel discussion with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Sarah Isgur Flores from the Department of Justice, moderated by Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway.
Flores argued that the problem was that college students who want to speak their mind can get expelled or arrested.
“Who determines what’s offensive? What is offensive mean (sic)?” she asked. “And if that becomes a subjective standard, I don’t think that really fits with academic freedom.”
#ICYMI: On March 22 Tyson Langhofer, Legal Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom's Center for Academic Freedom, attended the @WhiteHouse's “Generation Next: A White House Forum” https://t.co/5zAORKVwel
— AllianceDefends (@AllianceDefends) March 23, 2018
Trump was also interviewed one-on-one by the young activist and commentator Charlie Kirk, who has routinely espoused anti-LGBTQ views.
As for Trump’s anti-transgender military ban he is, unsurprisingly, for it, tweeting, “The military is not a social experiment. It is about killing the enemy.”
Trump spoke with Kirk mostly about tax cuts, unemployment rates, and harsher penalties for drug dealers.
“Trump has surrounded himself with anti-LGBTQ activists who have systematically targeted the transgender community and openly defended the vile and discredited practice of conversion therapy,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD in a statement ahead of the event.
“From delivering countless speeches to fringe groups united around hatred towards LGBTQ Americans to bringing them through the White House gates, President Trump continues to lead a culture war against the LGBTQ community at every turn.”