The internet had a lot to say about the Trump administration’s proposed plan to decriminalize homosexuality in countries in Africa, the Middle East, and the Caribbean where anti-gay laws are still on the books. You know who sure didn’t have a lot to say about it? President Donald Trump.
In an interaction with reporters on Wednesday, Trump seemed to be unaware of the plan coming out of his own administration. The plan, reportedly spearheaded by Richard Grennell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany and the administration’s highest ranking gay official, involved bringing together several prominent but unidentified LGBTQ+ activists from across Europe to discuss how to take down anti-gay laws in countries in the aforementioned regions.
When asked about the plan, Trump said, “I don’t know which report you’re talking about.” When the reporter pressed him, he said, “We have many reports.”
REPORTER: Mr President, on your push to decriminalize homosexuality, are you doing that? And why?
TRUMP: Say it?
REPORTER: Your push to decriminalize homosexuality across the world.
TRUMP: I don't know which report you're talking about. We have many reports. Anybody else? pic.twitter.com/3eGVvMVXFt
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 20, 2019
NBC News’s Josh Lederman, who originally reported the news about the Trump administration’s plans told Out in a phone interview Tuesday, that the Trump administration is “very focused on Iran and is looking for ways to demonize it in the public opinion.”
“This is one area where you know the U.S. and European countries see eye to eye on Iran,” Lederman said. “So it makes for them to focus strategically on that rather than sanctions, where there’s been a big gulf between the U.S. and its allies.”
New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman floated an alternative theory on Twitter. In response to a tweet about Trump’s supposed lack of knowledge about the plan, Haberman theorized that the president knows about the plan and “doesn’t want to acknowledge on camera because it risks offending a portion of his base.”
Or he does and doesn’t want to acknowledge on camera because it risks offending portions of his base. https://t.co/pHiskLRmTv
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) February 21, 2019
Out previously wrote that the names of those activists invited to discuss the decriminalization are not known, but Lederman noted that they come from a dozen European countries. However, as of the story’s original reporting, no activists from Middle Eastern, African or Caribbean countries were invited to the meeting.