Donald Trump has said for months that LGBT voters can’t trust Hillary Clinton because the Clinton Foundation accepted donations from Saudi Arabia.
Now it turns out Trump himself has taken millions from Saudi Arabia.
The Daily News reports today that Trump made perhaps more than $10 million from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. First, the government bought the entire 45th floor of Trump World Tower in June 2001 for $4.5 million. Charges for building amenities then started racking up, costing at least $85,585 per year, per apartment. The Daily News estimates Trump has so far collected another $5.7 million for the five units.
It’s likely Trump is still taking money from Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Politifact investigated the allegation that Clinton had taken money via her husband’s foundation. It found that Saudi Arabia had given money before Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State during the Obama administration and hadn’t given any more since.
Trump had been making the case that anyone who took money from Saudi Arabia — and a number of other Arab countries — doesn’t deserve the votes of women or LGBT people.
"She's been given tens of millions of dollars by countries that treat women horribly," Trump said, in one instance reported by Politifact. "And countries that kill gays, they kill gays.”
Trump’s surrogates have mentioned that women can’t drive in Saudi Arabia. It’s also true that they need a “male guardian” to do just about anything. It’s legal for a husband to beat his wife, and to rape her.
It’s also true that gay sex is illegal, punishable by death. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who is gay, sent a letter in April along with 33 other members of Congress to the Saudi ambassador calling on the country to end sting operations being conducted by the Joint Security Task Force to Fight Against Sexual Anomaly. Men caught in the stings can face torture, or death. One man reportedly faced 450 lashes. Some 35 people were jailed for wearing women’s clothes during a party.
"These reports are highly concerning," the letter reads. "Our country respects the sovereignty and cultural traditions of other nations. We want to be clear, however, that the persecution, torture and execution of members of the LGBTQ community are clear violations of human rights. Such actions will be an impediment to the mutually beneficial relations that should exist between our two nations."
Trump’s solution to the Pulse shooting in Orlando was to double down on his proposed Muslim ban, adding an ideological test at the border — which he calls “extreme vetting.” The test would ask whether immigrants believe in Sharia Law and that LGBT people should be put to death. Saying yes would mean you can’t come to the United States.
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, wrote a guest op-ed for CNN on Thursday that said Trump’s claims to be the true ally for LGBT people is unbelievable given his track record versus Clinton. Griffin said Trump “has courted extremists who foment hate both here and export it abroad.” Naming Indiana governor Mike Pence as governor, Griffin said, is just one example.
"His running mate, Mike Pence, as a congressman in 2009, opposed language in federal legislation to monitor and combat human rights violations against LGBTQ people abroad, accusing Democrats of attempting to 'promote a gay rights agenda around the globe.'
"Trump has also sought support from leading exporters of anti-LGBTQ hate, including the Alliance Defending Freedom. Well known for the work it does within US borders, ADF is also spreading hate in countries around the world, from fighting equality in Russia to recruiting and training anti-equality activists in Nepal.
"Together, Donald Trump and Mike Pence seem to have little interest in -- and perhaps little understanding of -- the dire plight faced by asylum seekers, including those who seek to flee the violence of ISIS or escape the anti-LGBTQ regime in Russia. And yet, Trump says he's a friend to the LGBTQ community."
Griffin was making the case that Trump is a pretend ally to LGBT people even before the Daily News story was published.
“In a Trump-Pence administration, does anyone think human rights for all will remain a pillar of our foreign policy?” he asked. “Or that our embassies abroad will provide the same beacon of hope to local LGBTQ communities? Or that whomever Trump selects as his secretary of state or UN ambassador will go before the international community to fight against discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity?”