During one of my conversations with Mary Trump, she relayed a story about how her grandmother made crude jokes about Elton John singing at the funeral of Princess Diana. She used a vulgar term to describe the gay music legend.
Mary’s cousin Eric Trump isn’t known for his smarts. (My grandfather would say about him, “The lights are on, but there’s nobody home.”) He famously once said that he was part of the LGBTQ community, “I’m telling you, I see it every day, the LGBT community, they are incredible and you should see how they’ve come out in full force for my father every single day. I’m part of that community, and we love the man and thank you for protecting our neighborhoods and thank you for protecting our cities.” Is he really that obtuse, or was he joking?
He later said he had been trying to explain what LGBTQ+ Trump supporters have told him.
Donald Trump once joked that Mike Pence "wants to hang" gay people, according to a story in The New Yorker in October of 2017.
The story cited two anonymous sources who said Trump liked to joke about Pence’s hatred toward our community, “when a conversation with an unnamed legal scholar turned to gay rights, the president motioned to Pence and allegedly joked, ‘Don't ask that guy — he wants to hang them all!’"
Ironically, it turned out that the MAGA base wanted to hang Mike Pence on January 6 insurrection, but not because he wanted to hang gays; however, with that bigoted crowd of insurrectionists, the fact that Pence did want to hang gays might have spared him the gallows. But I digress.
These stories about Trump's mother and son joking about gays only shows that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Like grandmother, like father, like grandson, Donald Trump Jr. finds humor in LGBTQ+ people.
Trump Jr. took to Twitter, like his father used to do but can’t now, to brag about his marvelous sense of humor and burgeoning creativity — of course, I’m being facetious. Apparently, Trump Jr. sells clothes — in this case, perhaps taking after his fashionista sister Ivanka?
Anyway, he’s selling hoodies and sweatshirts adorned with LGBTQ in rainbow lettering that stands for “Let’s Get Biden to Quit.” He’s clearly taking a page, or a frock, from the Trump campaign selling “Let’s Go Brandon” T-shirts. (Click here if you don’t know what that means. I don’t want to give it any more airtime). These Trumps must think they are so clever, or maybe Donnie Jr. was trying to smartly cover for his brother Eric, who I’m sure would boast about being part of this LGBTQ community.
But alas, Trump Jr. is anything but clever, selfless, or smart. According to his cousin Mary, “Donnie is a deeply unintelligent person. I’ve been asked who's the stupidest one, and it’s him.” She also said that he has an ability to “out-racism and out-misogyny anybody, and he’ll shoot as many innocent animals as possible to get whatever passes for affection in her family.”
She’s right! This isn’t Trump Jr.’s first foray into “out-homophobia anybody.” You can click here to the GLAAD page with all his transgressions against each letter of LGBTQ+. His ridiculing, mocking, attacking, and now “joking” know no bounds.
This ridicule of the LGBTQ+ community is not a joke. It is offensive. It is ignorant. And it is hurtful. While Trump Jr. jokes about changing the acronym, what he’s doing is again firing up the base. The MAGA crowd will infer that LGBTQ+ people are indeed a joke. They’ll lap up those T-shirts, parade around on the streets wearing them, and trash us on every corner to their neighbors and friends.
That’s the danger of manipulating that acronym. It’s less about getting Biden to quit and more about conveying another way to minimize our community. As Republican legislators quash LGBTQ+ rights, ignore equality bills, and gear up to come after us in the midterms, adding LGBTQ+ as a joke fits right into their quest to use our community as a divisive issue. They’ve already gone after Assistant Health Secretary Rachel Levine and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. LGBTQ is firmly in their crosshairs.
Trump Jr. thinks it’s all a big joke until it isn’t. This is Trans Awareness Week. And Donnie’s big punch line is a punch in the gut to the families of at least 46 trans and gender-nonconforming people killed in 2021. People are dying because they are a “T,” killing themselves because they are “G” or “Q,” hiding in the closet and suffering if they’re an “L” or a “B.” Does anyone see the joke in this?
How about this: Let’s turn MAGA into "Making All Gays Amazing" and put that on T-shirts and ballcaps. What do you think the reaction to that would be? There would be chaos, violence, and threats. Just think about all the turmoil surrounding the Republicans who voted for the infrastructure bill or voted to certify Biden for president or dare disagree that the election was rigged. These people don't make jokes or agree to be the butt of them, so why should we?
Jokes are not something that the Trump family and his base do very well. Spreading hate is what they do well, and that’s not funny at all.
John Casey is editor at large for The Advocate.