Melania Trump made the closing argument for “gays and lesbians” on behalf of the Trump/Pence campaign, arguing that her husband actually supports equality for gay people and that he won’t put anyone in jail for LGBTQ advocacy.
In a video produced with the Log Cabin Republicans – which just endorsed a slate of anti-LGBTQ politicians – Melania defended her husband’s record on gay rights. She did not try to defend his record on transgender rights, though.
She starts her video by saying that Donald Trump has been doing an amazing job but has been portrayed negatively in the media.
“I was shocked to discover that some of these powerful people have tried to paint my husband as anti-gay or against equality,” she said incredulously, despite the Trump administration’s years of attacking LGBTQ equality.
“Donald has been clear that gays and lesbians will be treated as he has always treated them: equally,” Melania Trump said, driving home her refusal to say any version of “LGBTQ.”
“Donald is the first president to enter the White House supporting gay marriage,” she said.
Donald Trump has long said that he opposes marriage equality and has never said that he supports it. He even went so far as to say that evangelical Christians “can trust me on traditional marriage” during his 2016 campaign. He then nominated Amy Coney Barrett – who has a history of anti-LGBTQ advocacy – to the Supreme Court, the only institution that could roll back the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision that legalized marriage equality in all 50 states.
Then, like most gay Republicans do, Melania Trump expressed bitterness over how LGBTQ people treat Republicans and decried how “free thinkers and independent voices like gay conservatives and Log Cabin Republicans are silenced, censored, and bullied by cancel culture mobs.”
She did not name any specific examples, but the closest any LGBTQ conservative got to being de-platformed in recent memory is Milo Yiannopoulos, who lost a book deal and his job at Breitbart when he made statements that appeared to condone pedophilia.
“Even if you don’t agree with my husband about everything, you have the right to say it,” Melania concluded, reminding LGBTQ people to be satisfied that Donald Trump has not made it illegal to advocate for LGBTQ rights.
First Lady Melania Trump supports freethinkers and trailblazers.
She is an ally for equality.
In this exclusive video, the First Lady gets unapologetically outspoken. pic.twitter.com/QfSR7Otq01
— OUTspoken (@getoutspoken20) October 29, 2020
Earlier this month, Donald Trump’s daughter Tiffany Trump appeared at a Trump Pride event and delivered a bizarre speech about how her father “has always supported all of you. OK?”
In that speech, Tiffany Trump referred to the “LGBQIA+ community,” dropping the “T.”
In a previous Log Cabin Republican video supporting Donald Trump, former U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell declared Donald Trump the “most pro-gay president in American history,” again keeping to “gay” or “gay and lesbian” instead of referring to LGBTQ people.
The Log Cabin Republicans’ website says that they’re “LGBT Republicans” who believe that “equality for LGBT Americans is in the finest tradition of the Republican Party.”
But Trump/Pence campaign outreach efforts and the Log Cabin Republicans’ own work in this election cycle suggest a conscious campaign to keep the T – and often the B – separate from gay and lesbian people.