At today’s National Prayer Breakfast, Donald Trump praised Karen Pence, wife of the vice president, for taking a job at a Christian school that practices anti-LGBTQ discrimination.
“I’ve gotten to know Karen so well,” the president said, according to NBC News. “She is a Marine Corps mom, a tremendous woman, a proud supporter of military families, and she just recently went back to teaching art classes at a Christian school. Thank you, thank you, Karen. Terrific woman.”
Karen Pence took a job teaching art at Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Va., which requires staff in their employment contract to confirm they are born-again Christians who will live by a certain set of evangelical principles. These include refraining from “homosexual activity,” “transgender identity,” and “any other violation of the unique roles of male and female.” It also preaches this homophobic, transphobic, and sexist dogma to students and expects them to adhere to it.
She had previously taught there for 12 years while her husband, Mike Pence, was a member of Congress. He, of course, is also well-known for his anti-LGBTQ views.
GLAAD quickly tweeted a denunciation of Trump’s remarks.
— GLAAD (@glaad) February 7, 2019
Today’s event in Washington, D.C., also saw Trump praise adoption agencies that discriminate on religious grounds — for instance, refusing to place children with same-sex couples.
He introduced a family from Michigan that had adopted five children and said, “Unfortunately, the Michigan adoption agency that brought the Buck family together is now defending itself in court for living by the values of its Catholic faith,” according to The Washington Post.
“My administration is working to ensure that faith-based adoption agencies are able to help vulnerable children find their forever families while following their deeply held beliefs,” he added. It recently granted a South Carolina adoption agency an exemption from a rule, dating from Barack Obama's presidency, denying federal funding to agencies that practice anti-LGBTQ discrimination.
Democratic National Committee LGBTQ media director Lucas Acosta decried Trump's comments, releasing this statement: “President Trump has yet again attacked LGBTQ people, this time at the expense of children in need of a home. With more than 400,000 children in foster care nationwide, Trump should focus on increasing the placement of children with qualified potential parents, not supporting state-funded discrimination against LGBTQ families. Every child deserves a home, and every qualified person seeking to adopt deserves to be considered. With a new House majority -- made up of a historic amount of LGBTQ members -- Democrats will continue to take a stand against the hateful Trump-GOP agenda.”
The Prayer Breakfast was also marked by a major gaffe on Trump’s part on the topic of civil rights. “Since the founding of our nation, many of our greatest strides — from gaining our independence to abolition of civil rights to extending the vote for women — have been led by people of faith,’ he said.
He probably meant the abolition of slavery. But social media users had pointed comments about it.
Trump finally said something honest at the National Prayer Breakfast.
When you've got kids in cages and refuse asylum seekers who are already in the country, "abolition of civil rights" pretty much covers it. #thursdaymotivation #thursdaythoughtspic.twitter.com/9Qj1dg4hAJ
— Holly Figueroa O'Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) February 7, 2019
Freudian slip or moment of honesty?
“From the founding of our nation, many of our greatest strides, from gaining our independence to the abolition of civil rights...were achieved by people of faith.”#NationalPrayerBreakfast
— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@MuslimIQ) February 7, 2019
Trump, on Tuesday: "When I say something that you might think is a gaffe, it’s on purpose; it’s not a gaffe."
Trump, today: Praises the "abolition of civil rights." pic.twitter.com/tOGLod0wd0
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) February 7, 2019
— GLAAD (@glaad) February 7, 2019