When Donald Trump mentioned “LGBTQ citizens” in accepting the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, most of us saw it as insincere pandering — and now it turns out that, even worse, it was part of a deal to silence his opponents.
That’s how former White House press secretary Sean Spicer tells it in his new book, The Briefing: Politics, The Press, and The President, out today.
Trump’s pledge in his acceptance speech to “protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of the hateful foreign ideology” came as part of an effort to get delegates to remove their names from a petition opposing his nomination, reports People, which obtained an advance copy of Spicer’s book.
“[Trump campaign chairman Paul] Manafort and his lieutenants went one by one down the list of people who had signed the petition and persuaded them to remove their signatures,” Spicer writes, according to People. The last one to be removed was that of Robert Sinners, a delegate from Washington, D.C.
Sinners told Jason Miller, Trump’s senior communications adviser, that he wanted the nominee to support LGBT rights. “Jason assured Sinners that Trump would be the most ‘inclusive’ candidate the Republican Party ever had,” Spicer writes.
“Jason told Sinners Donald Trump’s acceptance speech would acknowledge the LGBT community, which no other Republican acceptance speech had done,” the former press secretary continues. “And it did.”
Of course, as many LGBT advocates have pointed out, promising to protect any population from being killed by foreign terrorists represents a bare minimum of support — and Trump as president has shown repeatedly he’s no friend to LGBT people, rescinding many of President Barack Obama’s antidiscrimination policies, issuing his own “license to discriminate” orders, and appointing anti-LGBT Cabinet members and judges.
People sought comment from the White House and Sinners on Spicer’s book but as yet has received none.