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Mr. President, Personnel Is Policy

Mr. President, Personnel is Policy

President Trump continues to show us who he is, and it’s time we believe him.

In the short two weeks since he assumed office, he has made good on his hostile campaign promises to assault women’s reproductive health, strip health care from millions of Americans, ban Muslims from entering the country, and punish and push out Mexican immigrants. 

Now it appears that LGBT people are up next on his chopping block, despite claims he made just days ago that he would protect LGBT rights.

According to a draft of an upcoming executive order leaked to the press Wednesday, Trump is considering giving a sweeping license to discriminate to government employees and private businesses, who will now be able to cite certain “religious beliefs” for firing or withholding benefits from women and LGBT employees. In short, this new executive action (which the administration has not confirmed) would effectively invalidate the Obama LGBT policies that the Trump administration bragged about preserving earlier this week.

Trump just tried the ol’ rope-a-dope, but we aren’t falling for it.

This latest attack on our rights should dispel any illusions that Trump is a “real friend” to the LGBT community, as he boasted on the campaign trail. Remember when he said this? “Ask yourself who is really the friend of women and the LGBT community. Donald Trump with actions, or Hillary Clinton with her words? I will tell you who the better friend is and someday I believe that will be proven out bigly.”

Well yes, Mr. President, you have proven yourself, “bigly,” with your plans for this new executive order that trumps our rights, and by the company you keep.

To be fair, this latest license to discriminate reeks more of the anti-LGBT agenda long championed by Trump’s extremist advisers than his own stated views. But personnel is policy, and from day one he has surrounded himself with anti-equality appointees that demonize our community. So, it was inevitable that their worldview would ultimately drive administration policy on LGBT rights.

Over 150 LGBT elected officials cautioned us weeks ago to be wary of the Trump administration’s personnel picks in a letter they penned to the transition team. They noted that almost every individual Trump has appointed vigorously opposes basic human rights for LGBT Americans or shows a level of disdain that is troubling for any free and open society.  

Trump is in bed with some very bad actors, and they are pulling his strings to the detriment of all of us. Vice President Mike Pence has a long history of LGBT animus and is notorious for signing a similar license to discriminate as governor of Indiana. Jeff Sessions, who is vying to be our next attorney general, opposed extending federal hate-crimes law to cover LGBT Americans and ending "don’t ask, don’t tell." And Steve Bannon is a gleeful bigot,who made millions empowering white supremacists and has consistently made disparaging and racist remarks about gays, women, Muslims, and Jewish people.

Make no mistake about it, these men and the staff they hire will continue their crusade against LGBT Americans, women, people of color, and immigrants, all on the federal dime.  

So don’t believe the hype. Personnel is policy, yet to date, not one of Trump’s close advisers is LGBT or even a friend of the community. Believe what you see: Planned policies like this license to discriminate are attempts to derail progress and oppress us, period. Demand that the Senate block the pending confirmations of all of Trump’s appointees. None of them are advocates for LGBT people and our families, and if we let them take over our government, we can expect this policy and others like it to take hold. 
 

Aisha Moodie Millsx100
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS is the president and CEO of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and Institute, the only LGBT organization dedicated to building a pipeline of out LGBT officials at the state, local, and national level. 
 

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