In 2016, even as many prominent members of the “never Trump” crowd capitulated, the Log Cabin Republicans drew a line in the sand.
The queer conservative organization declined to endorse their party’s candidate after giving the nod to Mitt Romney in 2012, and John McCain in 2008. Not because Trump had been outspokenly homophobic, but because he was unpredictable.
Even as he made “overtures” to the “LGBTQ community,” the 2016 announcement read, he was constantly surrounding himself with advisors and supporters with strong anti-queer track records – to say nothing of Mike Pence, his running mate. He also supported “religious discrimination” legislation that would allow businesses to refuse gay and trans people service because they religiously don’t agree people like them should exist.
The Log Cabin crowd thought it was too risky to bet on Trump. And there are those out there who would argue that they were right.
Over the course of his first term, the Trump administration has reinstated a ban on trans troops serving in the military, banned flying pride flags over U.S. embassies, and made good on that “religious discrimination” promise by siding with a Colorado baker who refused to do business with a gay couple.
And those are just the high-profile issues. His administration also scaled back regulations under the Affordable Care Act so health care providers could, if they so chose, refuse to treat a queer or a trans patient. It ended a policy of giving visas to same-sex partners of foreign diplomats stationed at the United Nations. And earlier this month, we also saw moves to allow government contractors to fire queer or trans workers for “religious reasons.”
But on Friday, the Log Cabiners reversed their 2016 decision. They endorsed Trump for 2020.
“…Since taking office, President Trump has followed through on many of his commitments to the United States, including taking bold actions to the benefit of the LGBTQ community,” Chair Robert Kabel and Vice Chair Jill Homan wrote in a Washington Post editorial. That included committing to “end the spread of HIV/AIDS in 10 years,” and using “The United States’ outsize global influence” to push other countries to decriminalize homosexuality.
Queer people, the piece argues, have also benefited from “the president’s tax cuts” and his “hard line on foreign policy.” For that, he had their vote. The editorial included a brief note about opposing the trans military ban and a vow that they’d “continue to press the administration to reconsider.”
The Minnesota chapter of the Log Cabiners didn’t respond to interview requests, so it’s hard to say how the locals feel. There was little acknowledgement of the move outside a quick post on the group’s Facebook page on Friday with a link to Kabel and Horman’s op-ed. There were only two comments: one an emoji of clapping hands, and the other a request to pull the endorsement.
“He is taking transgender equality backwards,” the commenter said.
Meanwhile, the rest of the internet isn’t exactly quiet. Critics are arguing it takes a certain kind of queer person to vote for Trump: the kind who is too wealthy, white, male, or cis to be hurt by anything he’s done, and do not care if others will be. The Daily Beast called the move an act of “reality-defying shame.” Spectators on Twitter were a little more blunt.
“REALLY B*TCH???” one commenter asked.
“Log Cabin Republicans are trash,” another said.
Others compared “gays for Trump” to “trees for axes,” and incredulously asked the group if it really thought Trump “gave a damn” about them.
If the Log Cabiners have their way, we may have four more years to find out.