Although many LGBT Democrats were skeptical about Donald Trump’s pledge to protect LGBT people in his Republican National Convention speech, Eric Trump has a different take and called the remarks “revolutionary.”
The son of the Republican presidential nominee made the remarks during an interview Wednesday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” when making the case that his father has changed the Republican Party.
“We had a gay man speak at the RNC and my father spent a lot of his time talking about the LGBT community,” Eric Trump said. “That is revolutionary for the Republican Party.”
The gay man Eric Trump referenced was PayPal founder and Facebook co-chair Peter Thiel, who proclaimed on stage as convention attendees cheered he’s “proud to be gay,” but also proud to be a Republican and prouder to be an American.
Eric Trump also referenced his father’s outreach to black voters, such as during a recent speech in Michigan when the candidate lamented the conditions in inner cities under Democratic administrations and asked “What have you got to lose?”
“There’s a lot of things that he’s doing very differently; there’s a lot of beliefs that he has,” Eric Trump said.”I think the Republican Party has almost become an ‘America First Party’ because that’s really his message.”
During his speech at the Republican National Convention accepting the party’s nomination to run for president, Donald Trump pledged to “protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.” The words marked the first time a Republican presidential nominee referenced LGBT people in a positive way during a speech at a Republican National Convention.
Despite those words, Trump has taken anti-LGBT positions throughout his campaign and has courted anti-LGBT advocates for support. Trump has urged social conservatives to “trust” him to oppose same-sex marriage, said he’s “with the state” on North Carolina’s anti-LGBT House Bill 2 and gave conditional support to the First Amendment Defense Act, a federal “religious freedom” bill seen to enable anti-LGBT discrimination.
Trump has pledged to appoint to the Supreme Court nominees from a pre-selected list of individuals with conservative backgrounds. One of the appointees, U.S. Circuit Judge William Pryor, wrote a brief to the Supreme Court in 2003 urging justices to uphold bans on sodomy and compared homosexuality to pedophilia, necrophilia, bestiality and possession of child porn. The Supreme Court ended up striking bans on sodomy in the historic Lawrence v. Texas decision.
Asked whether Donald Trump would stick to the pre-selected list of individual when making judicial nominees, Eric Trump said, “There’s no question those are the people he’s going to choose.”
In the same interview, Eric Trump lambasted Hillary Clinton for negative (but also heavily criticized) stories that continue to circulate in the media, such as those questioning whether donors to the Clinton Foundation were granted special access at the State Department when she was secretary of state.
Eric Trump brought up the news stores when moderators asked if his father is actually a conservative or dishonest about the views he expressed over his campaign.
“Every single time you see one of these scandals that happens within government, every time you see something like 150 billion dollars going over to Iran, a country that hates our guts, I think your views on politics and the views on the governance of this country change, and I think that’s especially true for someone who’s never been in government before,” Eric Trump said. “So I think views will evolve and change, but I think they really get refined over time.”
Watch a portion of the interview here. The LGBT reference begins around 4:10.