To the shock — and perhaps even confusion — of many, President Trump on Friday retweeted a tweet from a British gay activist praising new a gay “Bollywood” romanic comedy movie in India.
Trump’s retweet even came with a short commentary on the film’s production: “Great!”
Great! https://t.co/eDf8ltInmH— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 21, 2020
The movie, “Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan” (Extra Careful of Marriage), is billed as an attempt to win over older audiences in India with LGBTQ acceptance in the aftermath of India’s Supreme Court overturning Section 377, a Colonial-era law that had barred gay sex.
Initially tweeting out a PinkNews article on the film was Peter Tatchell, a progressive British gay activist who fought against Brexit and is tied to the U.K. Labour Party.
Tatchell, however, put significant distance between himself and Trump in the aftermath of the retweet, sending out another tweet condemning his anti-LGBTQ policies.
Donald Trump just retweeted me. Shock horror! I tweeted a @PinkNews article about a new gay Bollywood movie & he retweeted it. I loathe Trump & tweet against his anti-LGBT+ policies, climate destruction denial, misogyny & collusion with the far right. SEE https://t.co/DURh4KNnmi— Peter Tatchell (@PeterTatchell) February 21, 2020
Trump has been a tear recently with PR seemingly intent to show his support for gay people. After appointing Richard Grenell this week as acting director of intelligence, Trump retweeted a tweet from White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere, who’s gay, calling Grenell the first openly gay Cabinet member.
.@RichardGrenell is my friend and a tremendous public servant. His appointment by @realDonaldTrump is historic, making him the first openly gay cabinet member in history. His identity is not a qualification anymore than mine is, but it’s quite significant and makes me proud! 🇺🇸🏳️🌈 https://t.co/Uq49zTk8D4— Judd Deere (@JuddPDeere45) February 20, 2020
Just last week, in the aftermath of conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh attacking Pete Buttigieg, saying Americans wouldn’t vote for a gay president, Trump put distance between himself and his ally, saying he could vote won. (Limbaugh on his radio show later said Trump called him on the phone and told him to “never apologize” for that comment, which the White House hasn’t disputed.)
Overall, Trump has built an anti-LGBTQ record over his course of his administration. Among other things, his administration has implemented a transgender military ban, arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court LGBTQ people aren’t protected under existing civil rights law and implemented religious freedom rules seen to enable anti-LGBTQ discrimination.
The White House didn’t respond to the Washington Blade’s request to comment on the Bollywood tweet.