Donald Trump has announced a series of appointments in the last days of his presidency, among them naming anti-LGBTQ+ counselor Marcus Bachmann to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.
Bachmann, the husband of former Minnesota congresswoman and onetime presidential aspirant Michele Bachmann, has been accused of practicing conversion therapy at his so-called Christian counseling clinics. He has sometimes denied engaging in the discredited and harmful practice, designed to turn LGBTQ+ people straight or cisgender, and sometimes said it’s up to the client whether to attempt such change. Undercover activists have, however, obtained evidence of conversion therapy going on at the clinics.
“Is it a remedy form that I typically would use? ... It is at the client’s discretion,” Marcus Bachmann told the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 2011 when asked about conversion therapy. Activists from anti-conversion therapy group Truth Wins Out posed as clients at Bachmann’s clinics, though, and were told that God creates everyone as heterosexual and that it’s possible to become free of same-sex attraction.
Michele Bachmann, a Republican, compiled a long record of anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and actions as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 2007 to 2015 — and afterward. She has supported a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and objected to letting transgender people use public restrooms matching their gender identity, along the way demonizing trans people as potential rapists. She was a founder of the Tea Party Caucus in Congress and has been a strong Trump loyalist, even denying that Joe Biden beat him in this year’s presidential election. She sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.
The White House announced Marcus Bachmann’s appointment Tuesday. Other notable appointees included Pam Bondi, who as Florida attorney general fought hard against marriage equality, to the board of trustees for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and gay conservative Richard Grenell, former ambassador to Germany and briefly acting director of national intelligence, to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.