October 13, 2017 at 12:52 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Trump at anti-LGBT summit: ‘The times are changing back again’
anti-LGBT summit, gay news, Washington Blade

President Donald Trump speaks at the 2017 Values Voter Summit. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

President Trump took the opportunity Friday of speaking at an anti-LGBT summit to express pleasure in his administration’s actions reversing the legacy of the Obama years, citing among other things recent “religious freedom” guidance seen to enable anti-LGBT discrimination.

Entering the stage at the 2017 Values Voter Summit to chants of “USA! USA! USA!” Trump sought to connect with an audience of social conservatives, who were largely responsible for his win in the 2016 presidential election.

“The American Founders invoked our Creator four times in the Declaration of Independence — four times,” Trump said. “How times have changed. But you know what, now they’re changing back again. Just remember that.”

Those words weren’t in direct reference to LGBT issues, but could apply to any number of actions in the Trump administration reversing LGBT achievements under Obama. Among them are his ban on transgender people in the military, undoing action in Obama years allowing them to serve, or his Justice Department advocating against LGBT non-discrimination protections after the previous administration enforced civil rights laws to protect LGBT people.

Trump’s speech covered a range of actions made in his administration, including the appointment of U.S. Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, ending the birth control mandate under Obamacare and military advances against the so-called Islamic State.

But Trump also maintained his commitment to “religious freedom,” citing his executive order on the issue in May that resulted subsequent guidance from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“Just last week, based on this executive action, the Department of Justice issued a new guidance to all federal agencies to ensure that no religious group is ever targeted under my administration,” Trump said. “It won’t happen.”

The guidance is seen to green light discrimination against LGBT people in the name of religious freedom. For example, a Social Security administrator charged with processing benefits applications could see an application for same-sex spousal benefits and refuse to process that application for religious reasons.

Religious freedom was major point in Trump’s address, which was delivered to many evangelical Christians. As evidence of America’s commitment to faith, Trump cited the inclusion of the words “one nation under God” in the pledge of allegiance.

“I pledged that, in a Trump administration, our nation’s religious heritage would be cherished, protected, and defended like you have never seen before,” Trump said. “That’s what’s happening. That’s what’s happening. You see it every day. You’re reading it.”

Trump also issued a call for unity at the event, recalling recent tragedies affecting the nation, such as the mass shooting at Las Vegas, the wildfire claiming lives in California and devastation caused by hurricanes along the Gulf Coast, in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. (Trump has faced criticism for inadequate response to Puerto Rico, in which 84 percent of the island’s residents still do not have electricity.)

“When America is unified, no force on Earth can break us apart,” Trump said. “We love our families. We love our neighbors. We love our country. Everyone here today is brought together by the same shared and timeless values. We cherish the sacred dignity of every human life.”

Trump’s speech marked the first time a sitting U.S. president spoke at the Values Voter Summit, which is hosted by the anti-LGBT Family Research Council. But Trump has delivered remarks before at the annual event. Last year, Trump addressed the anti-LGBT confab when he was the Republican presidential nominee.

At one point, Trump made a strange joke asking Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, for permission to skip next year’s event. Looking to Perkins on stage, Trump later said, “He’s saying — they’re saying no.”

The exchange intended as amusing aside, but demonstrates the coziness between anti-LGBT groups like the Family Research Council and the White House since the start of the Trump administration.

In the end, Trump offered a triumphant view of America overcoming the many challenges it faces, but emphasized the centralized of faith in achieving that goal before an audience that known to use religious freedom as an excuse to discriminate against LGBT people.

“We will defeat every evil, overcome every threat, and meet every single challenge,” Trump said. “We will defend our faith and protect our traditions. We will find the best in each other and in ourselves. We will pass on the blessings of liberty, and the glories of God, to our children. Our values will endure, our nation will thrive, our citizens will flourish, and our freedom will triumph.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • Are you back again? You filthy rotten right-wing chia hole cleanser!

    The fake POTUS is a failure and has done nothing to unite the nation let alone the world! He wastes too much time golfing, tweeting about how wonderful he thinks he is and bashing the NFL! All he can do is sign Executive Orders which are band-aids that can easily be undone once he’s out of office!

    Who cares if Trump’s head is deep up the canals of the FRC? The GLBT community has been here before and overcome and they will do so again with more resolve then ever! Trump won’t be in office forever and sooner or later liberals will be in control again and when they are, it will be your and your ilk who will be screwed up your stinky unwashed azzes you azz! So watch out what you preach as it will come back to bite you!

  • It’s none of your damn business what people have up their azzes especially when no one wants yours up theirs (except for Bruce Majors that is)! You damn right-wing conservatives want government out of your business but you’re always into everyone’s business trying to dictate to people how they should live their lives!

    But we know what azz your head is up and it’s trump’s azz you obnoxious pygg! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/86cbe821dcd0e296ac6a7bc30c15804271d2aecaa0a4b33327ac62a267cce2eb.jpg

  • “We cherish the dignity of every human life”. Really? When they insult and attempt to control women, gays, and minorities daily with their vile hatred?

    “When America is unified, no force on earth can break us apart”? Trump is the great unifier, bringing us all together so we can live in peace and harmony. (Puke)

  • It’s none of your business what people put in their backsides, but if that is your entire understanding of LGBT issues, you’re truly ignorant.

    • He always expresses everything in terms of sexual acts. Like being GLBT is only a sexual act. He’s too stupid and hateful to get it! He’s also a racist and sexist. I’ve seen his posts elsewhere. Just an overall waste of human life like the Fake POTUS and his supporters! They think the world is only about them and no on else matters!

  • Mr. Trump thinks he is endorsing religious freedom restoration. Mr. Pence has had his ear for over a year. What they are peddling is a New Year in hate and extremism.

    It will be easy enough to vet any “law” they decide upon, and fact check it for popularizing one religion over another.

    Clearly, the executive needs a time out, and a nap.

  • It sounds a lot more as christian theocracy than as religious freedom.

  • I love it ! !

  • How do I convince my friend that is gay, but is a staunch republican, religious trump supporter, that his support of trump is in opposition to his own personal interests?

  • The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries.
    – President & Founding Father, James Madison

    Which God?
    The God of the Methodists or the God of the Baptists?
    Maybe the USA should turn back to the God of the Mormons? Or Catholics, or Christian Reformed, or Unitarian, or Chirch of God? Or any one of 2,000+ denominations and sub-Sects?

    Hey, maybe Westboro Baptists should dictate morality and create our Laws? That would be awesome.

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