An official from President Donald Trump’s presidential transition team and two Trump campaign officials joined more than 150 LGBT Republicans from across the country on Saturday for an Inaugural ‘T’ Party organized by the gay GOP group Log Cabin Republicans.
The event was held at the Capitol Hill Club, which is part of the Republican National Committee’s headquarters on Capitol Hill. Log Cabin officials said the “T” in the event’s name stood for Trump.
Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), who served since last February as a Trump campaign adviser and later as chief congressional liaison to the Trump transition team, told the gathering he believes Trump will be supportive on issues of concern to Log Cabin and the LGBT community.
“What I can tell you about Donald Trump – there is not a bone in his body that is discriminatory against anyone in this country,” said Collins, whose district includes the city of Buffalo, N.Y.
“He has said I am going to be the president for every and all Americans. And that was not a sound bite,” Collins said.
“He is with you. He is with us. He’s with all Americans,” Collins said, adding, “I’m honored to have been here with you.”
Others attending the Log Cabin event but who didn’t speak included Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.); gay former Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.); Seth Weather, director of the Trump presidential campaign in Georgia; David Blair, a high-level official in the Trump presidential transition team; Grover Norquist, founder and leader of Americans for Tax Reform; and Georgia GOP State Sen. Michael Williams.
Also attending was Jordan Evans, the nation’s only Republican transgender elected official. Evans serves as an elected library trustee in the town of Charlton, Mass.
Log Cabin Republicans President Gregory Angelo, who wore a hat with the Trump campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” said Log Cabin would be celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2017 at a time when he predicted the gay GOP group would play a key role in advocating for LGBT equality with Congress and the White House.
“You see, as we move forward the talking points in the movement to LGBT equality in the United States are going to be coming from the center right,” Angelo said in opening remarks at the T Party gathering.
“The legislation in the LGBT equality movement is going to be coming from the center right,” he said. “The victories that we achieve are going to be coming from the center right. And the group carrying that message, the group carrying that legislation, the group carrying those victories is going to be Log Cabin Republicans,” he said to loud applause.
Leonard Olds, chairman emeritus of the Log Cabin Board of Directors, told the gathering he has been active with Log Cabin Republicans in California since 1982 with his partner Hugh Rouse.
“The fact of looking around the room and seeing the youth here this evening, the fact that you are out fully and with your rights makes Hugh and I – 47 years together – so proud to know that we’ve lived long enough to celebrate this moment with you,” he said.
“And for those of you who have to speak about the current election, whether you agreed or disagreed with the election, anytime someone tells you that Donald J. Trump is not an advocate for the LGBTQ community they’re lying to you,” he continued. “This man has been a friend of our community from the beginning – absolutely marvelous.”
The Log Cabin T Party event took place two days after the group organized a day of lobbying on Capitol Hill by LGBT Republicans who came to Washington from throughout the country to attend the official Trump inaugural events. Angelo said due to busy schedules for most of the LGBT Republicans, the lobbying visits were limited to LGBT Republicans from California and Texas.
That same evening, on Jan. 19, the D.C. chapter of Log Cabin Republicans hosted an inaugural happy hour at the D.C. gay bar Nellie’s, where more than 40 Log Cabin members and supporters from different parts of the country turned out. Chris Allen, president of the D.C. Log Cabin group, said about half of those attending the happy hour event were from out of town and enjoyed socializing with their counterparts from D.C.
Several of the out-of-town members, including gay businessman Joseph Azzolina Jr. from Middletown, N.J., and gay healthcare marketing representative Josh King of Conway, S.C., said they were excited about the incoming Trump administration and expected the new president to be supportive on LGBT issues.
“I think Trump is going to, for the most part, be good for the country and good for the gay community,” Azzolina said.
As the Log Cabin members arrived at the GOP Capitol Hill Club for the T Party event they crossed paths with dozens of protesters that had participated in the Women’s March on Washington, who were emerging from the Capitol South Metro Station located across the street after the march ended. Most of the march participants, including a large LGBT contingent, were protesting the Trump presidency.