The Trump administration made headlines Tuesday when it announced the launch of a global campaign to end the criminalization of homosexuality.
However, President Trump did not seem to be in the loop on the news.
The Republican politician was asked about the campaign Wednesday by a reporter during a press pool with Sebastian Kurz, chancellor of Austria. The question caught Trump off guard.
The White House transcript:
Reporter: Mr. President, on your push to decriminalize homosexuality, are you doing that? And why?
President Trump: Say it?
Reporter: Your push to decriminalize homosexuality around the world.
Trump: I don’t know which report you’re talking about. We have many reports. Anybody else?
REPORTER: Mr President, on your push to decriminalize homosexuality, are you doing that? And why?
TRUMP: Say it?
REPORTER: Your push to decriminalize homosexuality across the world.
TRUMP: I don't know which report you're talking about. We have many reports. Anybody else? pic.twitter.com/3eGVvMVXFt
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 20, 2019
The campaign has surprised others, as well, albeit for different reasons. "We’d believe that the Trump administration will work to protect LGBTQ people around the world if they had not attacked LGBTQ people in the U.S. over 90 times since taking office," GLAAD, a media watchdog, stated on Twitter. These attacks include repeated attempts to ban transgender soldiers from serving in the military and removing protections for trans youth in schools.
The campaign to decriminalize homosexuality in antigay nations will be led by Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany and the highest-profile openly gay member of the Trump administration. It is ostensibly in response to the recent reported hanging of a man accused of being gay in Iran.
The move is considered to be part of the Trump administration’s strategy to reposition its issues with Iran under an umbrella of human rights so that European nations that have resisted supporting Trump on penalties against the country will get on board, according to NBC News.
Of course, using human rights as a means to achieve political ends has sparked criticism. Out magazine's Mathew Rodriguez called the campaign "an old racist tactic" and "another instance of the right using queer people as a pawn to amass power and enact its own agenda."