Politics

Donald Trump joked that Mike Pence thinks “it’s a crime to be gay”

Donald Trump and Mike Pence
Donald Trump and Mike Pence shake hands onstagePhoto: Shutterstock

Donald Trump joked that Mike Pence thought “it’s a crime to be gay” in the days leading up to his 2017 inauguration, according to a new book by out New York Times journalist Jeremy W. Peters.

The book, Insurgency: How Republicans lost their party and got everything they ever wanted, says that Pence, Trump, and former Fox News contributor Andrew Napolitano had a meeting at Trump Tower in late 2016 where the three talked about the possibility of naming Napolitano, who is gay, to the Supreme Court.

Related: Donald Trump says Mike Pence ‘wants to hang’ all gay people

“During their meeting, for part of which Mike Pence was present, Trump ribbed Pence for his anti-gay rights views,” Peters wrote. “Addressing Napolitano, Trump gestured toward the archconservative vice-president-elect and said, ‘You’d better be careful because this guy thinks it’s a crime to be gay. Right, Mike?’ When Pence didn’t answer, Trump repeated himself, ‘Right, Mike?’ Pence remained silent.”

The book says that Trump at the time was considering naming several TV personalities to the high court, “not lawyers or judges he admired for their legal philosophies or interpretations of the Constitution.” That led Republicans to privately worry about how seriously he was taking the job.

Fox host Jeanine Pirro was another name Trump floated, according to the book, because Trump “regularly watched and occasionally planned his flight schedule around, directing his personal pilot to adjust the route accordingly so the satellite signal wouldn’t fade.”

If Trump had named Napolitano to the Supreme Court, he would have been the first out LGBTQ person to serve as a Supreme Court justice.

Instead, Napolitano was fired by Fox News after being accused of sexual harassment by a co-worker in a lawsuit.

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