A spokesperson for Vice President Mike Pence is pushing back on a New Yorker article reporting President Trump privately joked his No. 2 in office wants to hang all gay people, but won’t deny Trump said those words.
Alyssa Farah, press secretary for the vice president, made the comments in response to a Washington Blade inquiry on why Trump would make that joke and he thinks the death penalty for homosexual acts is a human rights violation.
“Articles like this are why the American people have lost so much faith in the press,” Farah said. “The New Yorker piece is filled with unsubstantiated, unsourced claims that are untrue and offensive.”
Farah didn’t respond to a follow-up inquiry on whether Trump’s joke about Pence wanting to hang gays was among the article’s claims are that are “untrue and offensive.”
A New Yorker profile piece on Pence reported Trump made the remarks during a private meeting between the two and a legal scholar. When the discussion turned to gay rights, Trump motioned toward Pence and joked, “Don’t ask that guy — he wants to hang them all!”
The joke makes light of Pence’s long anti-LGBT history, including support for a U.S. constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage nationwide as well as opposition to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, hate crimes legislation and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal. But Pence most famously signed a religious freedom law enabling anti-LGBT discrimination before being forced to sign a “fix” under pressure from the LGBT community and business leaders.
Trump’s reported remarks were quickly repudiated by LGBT rights supporters, who accused him of fanning the flames for violence and discrimination against LGBT people domestically and abroad.
“Donald Trump’s remark lays open the depth of their hostility and animosity toward LGBTQ people, and just how deeply they believe we should be treated as second-class citizens in our own country,” Griffin said. “That’s not funny, that’s dangerous and un-American.”
Also condemning the reported joke was Chelsea Clinton, who took to Twitter to say remarks about killing LGBT people or anyone else are inappropriate.
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) October 16, 2017