President Donald Trump on Friday recognized LGBTQ Pride Month — something he didn’t do during the first two years of his presidency.
“As we celebrate LGBT Pride Month and recognize the outstanding contributions LGBT people have made to our great Nation, let us also stand in solidarity with the many LGBT people who live in dozens of countries worldwide that punish, imprison, or even execute individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation,” Trump tweeted.
“My Administration has launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality and invite all nations to join us in this effort!,” the president said.
….on the basis of their sexual orientation. My Administration has launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality and invite all nations to join us in this effort!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2019
Trump pointed to his administration’s efforts to decriminalize homosexuality worldwide that are being led by the U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, who is gay. But when Trump was asked about that effort shortly after its roll out in February, he said, “I don’t know.”
Trump’s recognition of Pride Month — he’s the first Republican president to do so after President Bill Clinton established Pride Month in 1999, since President George W. Bush never recognized it during his time in office — comes amid a flurry of anti-LGBTQ activity in the past few months. Trump rolled back healthcare rules aimed at helping LGBTQ people and also opposed the passage of the Equality Act.
Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., tweeted a response: “Nice Tweet. Now, how about telling Mitch McConnell to bring up the Equality Act?” referring to the bill passed last month in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.
At the 2016 Republican National Convention, Trump noted the Pulse nightclub shooting and became the first GOP presidential nominee to directly address the LGBTQ community from a convention podium.
“As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology,” Trump said at the time.
In the two and a half years since Trump was inaugurated, he has taken steps to curtail LGBTQ rights, from nominating judges aligned with anti-gay hate groups to banning transgender people from the military.
LGBTQ Pride Month was established by Clinton in June 1999, though back then it was called Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. Clinton said at the time that he signed the 1998 executive order that made it possible for people of any sexual orientation to work in the federal government and to receive security clearances.
“Today, more openly gay and lesbian individuals serve in senior posts throughout the Federal Government than during any other Administration,” Clinton’s June 2000 proclamation stated.
Bush declined to recognize June as Pride Month, and it was not until the election of Barack Obama that the tradition started again. Obama issued a proclamation every year he was in office.
“All people deserve to live with dignity and respect, free from fear and violence, and protected against discrimination, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation,” Obama’s June 2015 proclamation read.
“During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, we celebrate the proud legacy LGBT individuals have woven into the fabric of our Nation, we honor those who have fought to perfect our Union, and we continue our work to build a society where every child grows up knowing that their country supports them, is proud of them, and has a place for them exactly as they are.”