Even as his administration works tirelessly to repeal LGBTQ+ rights, Donald Trump thinks the gays still love him.
After Trump’s Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a brief at the Supreme Court on Friday arguing it should be legal to fire workers for being trans, the president was asked about his record on equality during a Tuesday press conference. Chris Johnson, a reporter with the Washington Blade, asked Trump if he was “OK” with his administration’s stance on anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination.
The president has responded that he has “done very well” on LGBTQ+ rights, citing the recent endorsement of the gay GOP group Log Cabin Republicans in a controversial Washington Post op-ed, as well as his friendship with PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel.
“Some of my biggest supporters are of that community and I talk to them a lot about it,” he said. “[...] They're with me all the way and they like the job I'm doing.”
But while Trump uses the support of gay conservatives to prove the emperor has clothes on, the president may want to look elsewhere for assistance. Hours before the press conference, Out reported that several members of the Log Cabin Republicans resigned in protest of its Trump endorsement.
If the silver of LGBTQ+ people who support the president has gotten smaller since his election, it was never that big to begin with. Even as he pledged to be a “friend” to the community if elected to office, exit polling from 2016 shows a historically low number of LGBTQ+ voters went for Trump: just 14 percent. Mitt Romney earned 22 percent of the LGBTQ+ vote in 2012, while John McCain nabbed 27 percent in 2008.
Both of those candidates were also backed by the Log Cabin Republicans.
Although there are few surveys on where the president’s LGBTQ+ support stands today, his standing with the community is only likely to erode even further.
According to the media watchdog group GLAAD, his administration is responsible for 123 attacks on LGBTQ+ people since he took office in 2017, including banning trans people from serving openly in the military, rolling back LGBTQ+ data collection, and revoking Obama-era guidelines advising schools to treat trans students in accordance with their gender identity.
GLAAD, unsurprisingly, was less than pleased with the president’s remarks at Tuesday’s press briefing, tweeting simply: “Trump has not ‘done very well’ with the LGBTQ community.”