Donald Trump is expected to attend the Log Cabin Republicans' annual Spirit of Lincoln dinner, to be held Saturday at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, sources tell the Washington Blade, marking the first time a former president appears at one of the group's events.
Log Cabin, a right-wing organization made up of LGBTQ+ conservatives, wouldn't confirm the report, for which the Blade cited "two insiders familiar with his plans." His wife, Melania Trump, is set to receive the Spirit of Lincoln Award and speak at the event, where she will be the guest of honor.
"Mrs. Trump will be the only member of the family speaking and scheduled to attend the Spirit of Lincoln Gala," Log Cabin Managing Director Charles Moran told the Blade. As to whether that was a denial that Donald Trump would be present, Moran said, "I'm just telling you what I know."
Log Cabin has often tried to paint Donald Trump as an ally of the LGBTQ+ community, but he and his administration took numerous actions against LGBTQ+ people: the transgender military ban, revoking guidelines on proper treatment of transgender youth in schools, opposition to antidiscrimination protections, promotion of the freedom to discriminate under the guise of religious liberty, the appointment of anti-LGBTQ+ judges and cabinet members, and more.
The group has defended Trump on the basis of a couple of actions: naming a gay man, Richard Grenell, ambassador to Germany and later acting director of national intelligence, and an effort, led by Grenell, to decriminalize homosexuality around the world, although it's unclear what that effort ever entailed. Log Cabin endorsed Trump for reelection in 2020 but did not endorse him in 2016 -- although it did call on supporters not to vote for his 2016 Democratic opponent, Hillard Clinton.
Grenell will receive the Game Changer Award at the Spirit of Lincoln event "for both his visible role in the Trump Administration as the first openly gay man to serve in a cabinet-level position and his subsequent advocacy for the Log Cabin Republicans," says a Log Cabin press release. After leaving the administration, Grenell became a senior adviser to the American Center for Law and Justice, a legal group founded by Pat Robertson that has a history of opposing LGBTQ+ equality, although its current work appears to focus more on opposition to abortion rights and promotion of gun rights.
Other honorees at the dinner will include U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart, a Utah Republican who has proposed the Fairness for All Act. Like the pending Equality Act, an LGBTQ+ rights bill opposed by most Republicans, the Fairness for All Act would ban discrimination in many aspects of life, but it would provide broader religious exemptions than the Equality Act. Stewart first introduced it in 2019 and reintroduced it this year. He will receive the Congressional Champion Award. Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, will receive the Majority Maker Award.
In announcing the award to Melania Trump in a September press release, Moran said, "Melania Trump's work as First Lady, from helping children reach their full potential to championing a more inclusive Republican Party, has been historic. Her vocal support of Log Cabin Republicans has been a signal to Republicans everywhere that it is possible to simultaneously be conservative and support equality under the law for all Americans."
Prominent Republicans who have attended the Spirit of Lincoln dinner in the past, the Blade notes, include former tech executive and onetime presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, and Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.