Trump ignores Pride Month in favor of broader pitch to LGBTQ voters

The Biden campaign has marked Pride Month with a blitz of advertisements, interviews and engagements with local LGBTQ groups and prominent figures to try and motivate voters ahead of November.

Former President Trump’s campaign is taking a decidedly different approach.

The Trump campaign has done nothing specific to mark Pride Month, a move reminiscent of the multiple years while Trump was in the White House when he did not issue a proclamation recognizing the month of celebration for the LGBTQ community.

Instead, Trump and his allies are making a broader pitch that his policies on the economy and the border will benefit LGBTQ Americans, just as they would benefit other communities, even as the former president attacks transgender athletes and vows to reverse transgender student protections enacted by the Biden administration.

“By bringing down inflation and the skyrocketing cost of living, cutting taxes, and restoring law and order in our communities, President Trump’s second term agenda will create a safer and more prosperous America for ALL Americans, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, or creed!” Trump campaign spokesperson Karoline Leavitt said in a statement.

Republicans and Trump campaign officials said outreach to LGBTQ voters will be decentralized from focusing on Pride Month, instead relying on coalition groups to make the case over several months that voters of all backgrounds, genders and sexual orientations were better off during the Trump administration than under the Biden administration.

The Independent Center, a centrist think tank, surveyed 600 Americans earlier this year who identify as LGBTQ. The poll found 56 percent of those surveyed said they would definitely vote for President Biden or lean toward Biden, compared to 28 percent who said they would definitely support or lean toward supporting Trump. Sixteen percent of respondents were undecided.

The poll also found 24 percent of respondents said “jobs and the economy” were the most pressing issues for the country, making them the top choice among those surveyed.

“The economy and malaise Joe Biden and Democrats have brought are affecting gay families as bad as Latino families, as Asian families, as everybody else in this country,” said Charles Moran, president of the LGBTQ group Log Cabin Republicans. “So it’s not like we have to have this policy portfolio that we have to present to these different communities. Under Donald Trump, your life was better, and it doesn’t matter what your skin color was, or your gender or your sexual identity.”

Former first lady Melania Trump attended an April fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago for Log Cabin Republicans, which endorsed Trump in 2020. The money raised at that event is expected to help fund the group’s voter outreach efforts in the coming months for the Trump campaign and down-ballot Republicans.

But despite the outreach, Trump has also promised policies that would severely hinder members of the LGBTQ community.

They include enacting at least a dozen policies targeting transgender rights if he is reelected, including a nationwide ban on transgender student-athletes competing in accordance with their gender identity and a federal law that recognizes only two genders.

He has also vowed to punish health care providers who administer gender-affirming medical care to minors and roll back new transgender student protections “on day one” of his presidency.

Trump as president barred transgender individuals from serving openly in the military, gutted Obama-era nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people and rejected requests from U.S. embassies to fly rainbow flags during Pride Month.

Still, Trump allies argue the former president has ushered in a new era in the Republican Party where LGBTQ Americans are more welcome in the GOP.

Officials noted his administration included multiple openly gay officials, including Richard Grenell as acting director of National Intelligence. They also cited Trump’s comments upon winning in 2016 that he viewed the issue of gay marriage as settled.

“He has that track record of having been a philanthropist and a businessman and then as a politician, and all of those things have been congruent around his inclusion of LGBT people,” Moran said.

LGBTQ voters may not make up a large portion of the national electorate, but in what is expected to be a close election in November, their votes could help tip the scales for one campaign.

Exit polling after the 2020 election found 7 percent of voters identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Sixty-four percent of those voters backed Biden, compared to 27 percent who voted for Trump.

Biden, who frequently touts himself and his administration as the most pro-LGBTQ in history, expanded during his first term federal nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people and condemned violence and threats made against the community. In 2022, Biden signed legislation safeguarding marriage equality.

Biden has also spoken out against state-level laws targeting transgender youth and against Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, which restricts some discussions in the state’s schools about sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Biden campaign in April launched Out for Biden-Harris, a national initiative intended to mobilize LGBTQ voters. First lady Jill Biden marked the start of Pride Month by attending the Pittsburgh Pride festival. The campaign is expected to have a presence at more than 200 Pride events across the month, pushing the message that the choice in November is clear.

“This Pride is an important time to remember the progress we’ve made for our community under President Biden, and the stakes of this election for LGBTQ+ Americans as Trump proudly runs to strip us of our rights,” Biden campaign spokesperson Kevin Munoz said in a statement.

“From threatening [in vitro fertilization] treatments to attacking LGBTQ+ marriages, Trump’s Project 2025 agenda would rip away our rights, and sow needless hate and division for Trump’s political gain,” he added.

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.