NEW YORK (AP) — A prominent group that represents LGBT conservatives says a video shared by Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign slams rival Donald Trump for his past support of gay and transgender people “adventured into homophobic territory.”
The “DeSantis War Room” Twitter account shared the video on Friday – the last day of June’s LGBTQ+ Pride Month – which features footage of Trump at the Republican National Convention in 2016 saying he would “do whatever is in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens. “Trump had pledged to protect himself from terrorist attacks weeks after the shooting at Pulse Nightclub, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, which was at the time the deadliest mass shooting in US history. United.
The video also highlights the ‘LGBTQ for Trump’ t-shirts sold by the former president’s campaign and his past comments that he would be comfortable with Caitlyn Jenner, the former Olympic decathlete who became a transgender woman in 2015, using any bathroom in Trump. Turn and OK with transgender women competing one day in the Miss Universe pageant, which Trump owned at the time of these remarks.
The video then suddenly veers in a different direction, accompanied by dark, punchy music and footage of DeSantis, the Florida governor trailing Trump in the polls for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
It promotes headlines that DeSantis signed “the most extreme list of anti-trans laws in modern history” and a “draconian anti-trans toilet bill.” The footage is stitched together with images of muscular, shirtless men and several Hollywood actors, including Brad Pitt, seen wearing a leather mask from the movie “Troy.”
“To wrap up ‘Pride Month,’ let’s hear from the politician who has done more than any other Republican to celebrate it,” the DeSantis campaign tweeted.
The video drew immediate criticism from prominent LGBTQ+ Republicans, including Log Cabin Republicans, who bill themselves as the “largest Republican organization in the nation dedicated to representing LGBT conservatives.”
“Today’s message from the DeSantis War Room campaign is divisive and desperate. Republicans and other savvy conservatives know that Ron Desantis has alienated swing state voters and younger voters,” the group said in a tweet, adding that “DeSantis’ extreme rhetoric just got exposed. into homophobic territory.
The group said its “rhetoric will undercut hard-won gains in critical races across the country. This old playbook has been tried in the past and failed – repeatedly. The message stated that “DeSantis’ naive political positions are dangerous and politically stupid.”
Jenner accused the DeSantis campaign of using “horribly divisive tactics!”
“DeSantis hit a new low,” Jenner wrote on Twitter.
Representatives for the DeSantis campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Saturday.
The video comes as Republicans move into increasingly hostile anti-LGBTQ+ territory, attacking Pride Month celebrations, trying to ban the display of rainbow pride flags and adopting a legislation to limit drag shows, as well as sweeping attacks on transgender rights.
This rhetoric has seeped into the GOP presidential campaign, playing a prominent role that had been absent in recent competitive primaries, including in 2016, when Trump, a New York reality TV star, sneered. is generally portrayed as a supporter of LGBT rights.
DeSantis has weighed in on anti-LGBTQ+ legislation as he prepares to enter the 2024 White House race. He signed a law banning classroom teaching about sexual orientation and sexuality. gender identity at all levels, banning gender-affirming care for minors, targeting drag shows, restricting discussion of personal pronouns in schools, and forcing people to use restrooms that match the sex assigned to the birth. DeSantis also sued President Joe Biden for prominently displaying the Pride Flag at the White House last month.
Trump himself promised in a speech Friday that if elected, he would sign executive orders on his first day in office to cut federal funds for any schools pushing “transgender insanity” and to ask federal agencies “ to cease the promotion of sex or gender transition at any age.” Hospitals and healthcare providers providing gender-affirming care to minors should be considered in violation of federal health and safety standards and losing federal funding, he said.
Trump and DeSantis have also railed against transgender women participating in women’s sports and have called gender-affirming care for minors “mutilation.”
At Trump’s rally in Pickens, South Carolina, on Saturday, the crowd booed when Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., referenced Pride Month.
“The rainbow belongs to God,” she said.
While such rhetoric appeals to the party’s conservative base, it risks alienating the more moderate and vocal voters who typically decide the outcome of general elections.
The video, originally posted by the pro-DeSantis account “@ProudElephantUS”, was shared hours after the conservative Supreme Court majority ruled that a Christian graphic designer who wants to design wedding websites can refuse to work with them. same-sex couples.
The ruling marked a major defeat for gay rights, with one of the court’s liberal justices writing in a dissent that the effect of the ruling would be to “mark gays and lesbians for second-class status.”