White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made passionate remarks at the beginning of Friday’s White House press briefing when she highlighted Republicans’ assault on LGBTQ+ Americans.
“I just want to take a step back a moment and really call out the shameful, hateful, and dangerous attacks that we have been seeing on the LGBTQI community as we’ve seen this week and also last week,” Jean-Pierre said.
Her perspective on the issue is unique since she is the first out member of the LGBTQ+ community to hold her position.
Jean-Pierre mentioned that a speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference recently called for eradicating transgender people. “Language that not a single national Republican leader has condemned,” she said critically.
She pointed to Iowa and Tennessee, where GOP legislatures are attacking marriage equality protections for same-sex couples.
“Just [in] Florida alone, Republicans introduced 20 bills on a single day to roll back the rights of the LGBTQ community. One of those bills would give the state the right to remove kids from their parents just because that kid is transgender,” she said.
The press secretary asked Americans to put themselves in the shoes of young trans kids.
“Just think about a kid who’s sitting at home in this community who’s listening and hearing elected officials talking about how they want to take away their rights, or how they want to even threaten their parents with felony charges for seeking health care for their children,” she said. “These kids are sitting at home having to listen to people who are supposed to protect them and their freedom saying these horrific, ugly, despicable things.”
She noted that on the 70th day of the year, more than 450 anti-LGBTQ+ bills had been introduced at the state level.
“The same leaders that tout freedom apparently don’t extend their love for freedom if they disagree with who you are, who you love, or how you parent,” she said, adding that these measures amounted to “government overreach at its worst.”
Then she assured the LGBTQ+ community on behalf of the president.
“There is no asterisk over the word freedom in this country. We will not hesitate to call out this behavior if I have to do this, or we have to do this, or the president has to do this every week,” Jean-Pierre said.
“We will, and I’ll just say what the president has said over and over again when it comes to LGBTQ plus community: When it comes to vulnerable communities across the country that are constantly being attacked, we have their back. The president has their back, and that will continue.”
Recently Republicans have expanded their attacks on queer and transgender people, introducing legislation in Texas to create a bounty system that rewards those who sue organizers of drag brunches or drag queens generally if children were able to view them in public. In Tennessee, Republicans have criminalized drag performances that are accessible to children by making a first offense a misdemeanor and subsequent ones felonies.