A group of Republicans rallied Monday in a heavily LGBTQ city in Florida and tried to paint Donald Trump as a friend of the community — a message that included bizarre conspiracy theories, wasn’t well-received, and was drowned out by protesters.
“Let me tell you, the LGBT community and Democrats, the greatest crime today is being silent and not openly supporting the greatest president of our lifetime, Donald J. Trump,” organizer Andrew Brett said at the event in Wilton Manors, a suburb of Fort Lauderdale that is “the unofficial capital of the LGBT community in South Florida,” governed by out elected officials exclusively, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Brett, president of the Broward County chapter of Log Cabin Republicans, describes himself as gay and Christian.
He was one of five speakers at the event, which drew about a dozen Trump supporters but twice as many anti-Trump protesters, the Sun Sentinel reports. South Florida Gay News puts the anti-Trump group at three times as many as the supporters.
Brett claimed Trump is an LGBTQ ally because he has appointed a couple of gay federal judges and a few gay ambassadors, and called the president “the beacon of light, hope, prosperity and keeping America great.” But much of his speech was inaudible, as his microphone failed, while the anti-Trump group had brought a bullhorn and was able to be heard.
In a less-than-grammatical transcript of the speech that Brett provided to South Florida Gay News, he made some outlandish statements. He said Democratic Congresswomen Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, both of whom are Muslim, “are not friends of the GLBT community and support the execution of beheadings of GLBT people.” There is no evidence for these claims. He also contended that the candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination endorse “socialism in which supports sharia law.” Sharia law is an Islamic religious code.
The anti-Trump attendees pointed out the president’s many anti-LGBTQ actions, such as the appointment of numerous federal judges who oppose LGBTQ equality, the ban on military service by transgender people, the promotion of “religious freedom” as an excuse to discriminate against LGBTQ people, opposition to the Equality Act, and more. They produced a list of 63 homophobic and transphobic actions.
Michael Julian of Fort Lauderdale told the Sun Sentinel the Trump administration is moving toward “complete eradication of rights for gay people, people of color [and] women.”
Bob Darrow of nearby Oakland Park said he was surprised the Trump supporters “had the audacity to come here. I’m offended that they would bring their message to the home of the gay community here in Wilton Manors when everything they stand for goes against equality for gays and lesbians.”