Donald Trump denounced LGBTQ equality in a speech at the America First Policy Institute’s first annual summit yesterday as he signaled his intent to run again in 2024.
During the speech, he denounced the “sexualization of minor children” while discussing LGBTQ people.
“Federal, state, and local government should aggressively enforce existing statutes to stop the perverted sexualization of minor children,” he said. “You have the statutes.”
The “sexualization of children” is a phrase that the right has been using this past year to refer to any discussion of LGBTQ identities and children. The expression has been applied discussing LGBTQ people in school or having LGBTQ books like And Tango Makes Three – which is about a baby penguin with two dads – available in school libraries.
It also gets used when supportive parents who don’t force their children to follow gender rules around clothing, or parents who support their transgender kids’ identities.
Trump didn’t specify what statutes exist that prevent kids from reading about gay penguins or teens from accessing life-saving health care.
“The society that refuses to protect its children is a society that soon will not be able to protect anybody,” Trump said. “This is a hallmark of cultural and social decay against which we should fight back very hard and very soon we don’t have time to wait years to do this.”
Trump then admitted he didn’t even know what he was talking about.
“The sickos who are pushing sexual content in kindergartens or providing puberty blockers to young children who have no idea what a puberty blocker is – neither do I, by the way, neither do most of the people in the audience as you smile,” he said. While he was at least honest about not knowing anything about health care for transgender youth, he took a strong stance against it.
“Let’s just say they’re not good – are not just engaged in acts of depravity in many cases they are breaking the law and they should be held fully accountable,” he said.
He then went on an ad libbed rant against transgender women playing sports.
“By the way, we should not allow men to play in women’s sports. So crazy,” he said.
He got loud applause from the audience for that line, even though it’s not something that anyone is advocating.
Trump proceeded to tell a surrealist version of the story of University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas.
He said that he knew a woman – a “beautiful woman” whose name he didn’t give – who wanted to break an unspecified world record in swimming. She looked on one side of her in the pool, he recounted, and saw women. On the other side there was “somebody with a man’s body, that’s what they do, they call it.”
“You know the guy, he was named ‘female athlete of the year.’ Did you know that? It’s true!” he said.
“This guy is massive, he’s got a wingspan, he’s got arms that are 30 feet long,” he said, misgendering Thomas. “She was seriously injured during the meet because he swam so fast that he gave her major wind burn as he went by. She didn’t break the record but he broke the record that day. You know what the number was? 38 seconds. So she wanted to break it by an eighth of a second and he broke it by 38 seconds.”
Trump was probably referring to Thomas, but he got a lot wrong in his story. Thomas did not set any record by 38 seconds; she won a long-distance race by 38 seconds, which is normal in an over 15-minute-long race. Thomas was not named “female athlete of the year”; she was nominated for NCAA Woman of the Year and did not get the title. Thomas does not have 30-foot-long arms and didn’t give anyone “wind burn.”
Then Trump told an even more fantastical story about a transgender weightlifter named “Alice” who, he claimed, broke the women’s world record in clean & jerk, which he said was 218 pounds. “I can’t lift it,” he said, as if anyone expected a doughy, unathletic 76-year-old man to be able to lift as much as women competing in the Olympics for weightlifting.
He said that Alice broke the record that was in place for years without much effort and that she could have lifted more.
Internet searches didn’t turn up anyone who fits Trump’s description. The world record for women in clean & jerk is 411 pounds, set by Chinese lifter Li Wenwen in 2021.
“It’s so disrespectful to women,” Trump said immediately after mocking two women for several minutes in front of the crowd. “And they say it’s politically incorrect, it’s so disrespectful.”
In the speech, Trump suggested that he’s running for president in 2024.
“I ran the first time and I won. Then I ran a second time and I did much better. We got millions and millions more votes,” he said. “We may just have to do it again.”