A Florida Republican state lawmaker got audible gasps when he admitted that he and other conservatives hate LGBTQ+ people.
State Rep. Jeff Holcomb (R) was speaking on Monday on the floor of the Florida House of Representatives about a bill to urge Congress to get rid of the “woke social engineering and experimentation practices” in the U.S. military.
“Isis, the Taliban, and Al-Qaeda, those are the folks who discriminate. We bombed a building in 2017 like we never usually do,” he said. “We bombed it because they threw homosexuals off that building.”
“Our terrorist enemies hate homosexuals more than we do,” he said to stress that the hatred of Republicans supporting the bill isn’t the worst out there. “They’re the ones who discriminate.”
Video of the statement was posted to Twitter by gay former state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D), who is running for state senate.
Holcomb was speaking about Florida S.M. 1382, which would have the state of Florida send copies of a text to President Joe Biden and other federal officials demanding that the military stop engaging in “woke social engineering and experimentation practices.” The bill cites the military’s opposition to racism in the workplace and the facts that “openly gay and bisexual men and women have been allowed to serve in the military” and “the ban on transgender individuals serving in the military was lifted” as examples of “woke” military policies.
His speech comes after years of attacks on LGBTQ+ people’s rights from the Florida state legislature, including the state’s infamous Don’t Say Gay bill, its ban on transgender students participating in school sports, and its most recent bill to allow doctors to refuse care for LGBTQ+ people.
Usually, though, Republicans explain their motivation for anti-LGBTQ+ legislation as something other than anti-LGBTQ+ animus. For example, they say that they are just really concerned with fairness in women’s sports or that anyone who opposes the Don’t Say Gay bill is a pedophile or supports pedophilia.
On Twitter, people pointed to state Rep. Kelly Skidmore (D), the woman sitting behind Holcomb in the video who appeared shocked by his words.
Holcomb was likely referring to photos that made international headlines in 2016 of a man being killed in Manbij, Syria by Daesh. Local media said that he had been sentenced to death by stoning and later thrown off a building for the charge of sodomy.
It’s unclear, though, what U.S. military action he was referring to or why the U.S. would bomb a building that was used in a gruesome act a year prior. The 2017 Shayrat missile strike – which occurred in 2017 and in Syria, like Holcomb described – involved 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles fired at the Shayrat Airbase, which was controlled by the Syrian government. The strike was retaliation for Syria’s use of chemical weapons. Shayrat, though, is located on the other side of the country from Manbij.