Donald Trump wants to “bring people together.”
This is what he said this week to Sue O'Connell, a lesbian reporter who asked the Republican candidate if he would advance LGBT rights during his presidency.
"When President Trump is in office, can we look for more forward motion on equality for gays and lesbians?" the NECN reporter inquired in a video interview posted Thursday. Preceding the question, O’Connell identified herself as a lesbian to Trump and noted the recent “great progress for the gay and lesbian community.”
"Well, you can,” Trump responded. “We're going to bring people together, and that's your thing, and other people have their thing. We have to bring all people together, and if we don't we're not going to have a country anymore. It’s gonna be a total mess. It’s a mess right now. It’s going to be worse."
Trump’s remarks, which were made in advance of the New Hampshire primaries, contradict a statement he made to Fox News last weekend. He told the conservative media outlet Sunday that as president, he would be “putting certain judges on the bench that maybe could change things,” regarding last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges that declared same-sex marriage a constitutional right.
For the record, Trump has never supported same-sex marriage. He has historically supported benefits for domestic partnerships, and he’s withdrawn support for civil unions. In an August interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he agreed same-sex marriage was a "dead issue" after the Supreme Court declared it a constitutional right in June.
O’Connell led into her question about LGBT rights with a quote from the late gay icon Joan Rivers, who endorsed Trump shortly before her death last year: “He has a big heart. He’s a good man. And he’s got a big mouth."
“When are we going to see more of your heart out on the campaign trail?” O’Connell asked.
“Well, I think heart’s very important,” Trump began, and said the large number of GOP presidential challengers and their barrage of attacks have led him to hide the more vulnerable side of his character. “I think as the field gets smaller, people are going to see it."
“And it was very nice of Joan Rivers to say that,” he added. “I know that she endorsed me very strongly … I felt so badly about the way she went, but she was a terrific woman.”
Watch the interview below.