Washington Blade political reporter Chris Johnson last week challenged White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, over her opposition to marriage equality and the administration’s preparedness for the upcoming Supreme Court decision on whether Title VII applies to sexual orientation and gender identity.
They were legitimate questions, especially given the gravity of the upcoming high court ruling, which could bar employment discrimination against LGBTQ workers in all 50 states.
And McEnany’s record of opposition to LGBTQ rights is long and well documented. She’s now a senior adviser to the president of the United States, unlikely as that may seem, so her views are relevant as the government prepares for the ramifications of a potentially sweeping ruling on job protections for LGBTQ workers.
McEnany followed the lead of her three immediate predecessors in the job, avoiding the question and acting exasperated in the process.
After the briefing, Trump’s toadies in the right-wing twitterverse and blogosphere jumped into action, attacking Johnson with personal insults and anti-gay slurs. The instantaneous attacks came by the hundreds.
Johnson was called “Chrissy” and “light in the loafers” and labeled a “gaystapo clown.” Of course, the ever-charming and predictable “faggot” slur was deployed.
This was no coincidence. Trump has an army of mindless sycophants ready to defend him from any hint of challenge or criticism. From the big guns like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh to the bloggers at Breitbart and RedState and many more lesser-known figures, Trump deploys them to trash, threaten and intimidate anyone in the media deemed critical of his administration.
Make no mistake: We have a White House that openly threatens reporters, disdains the First Amendment and emboldens its supporters to insult and intimidate journalists at outlets large and small.
Fortunately, Johnson is a pro and we have a pretty thick skin in the LGBTQ media. But we’re at a dangerous crossroads, folks. Trump and his cronies are determined to dismantle our government and with it, democracy itself. Americans everywhere and from both parties need to speak out and vote in November if we are to reclaim the country from this madness.
Kudos to Johnson and the other members of the White House press corps, who are working at personal risk to merely ask questions of this corrupt administration.
Kevin Naff is editor of the Washington Blade. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.