White House Watch: Trump Recognizes LGBT Pride Month

Mike Hill via Facebook.

As President Donald Trump continues to hold campaign rallies to the music of Elton John and the Rolling Stones, Democrats prepare for their first debate.

There is still the threshold matter with as many as 23 viable candidates – at last count. In order to appear on stage at this fall’s Democratic National Committee debates, candidates must have 130,000 individual donors and tally at least two percent in four qualifying polls. 

The first round of debate is scheduled for June 26-27 in Miami. South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is in good position to make the cut. Buttigieg is polling in the top five. His husband Chasten is scheduled to speak at the annual Florida Democratic Party Leadership Blue, June 7-9, at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club.

“For those who ask (they already have and they always will) why we celebrate #Pride, remind them that the closet kills people and that it didn’t get you. That’s reason enough to march and celebrate your existence,” Chasteen Buttigieg tweeted.

Meanwhile, President Trump recognized LGBT Pride Month with two tweets.

“As we celebrate LGBT Pride Month and recognize the outstanding contributions LGBT people have made to our great Nation, let us also stand in solidarity with the many LGBT people who live in dozens of countries worldwide that punish, imprison, or even execute individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation. My administration has launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality and invite all nations to join us in this effort,” Trump tweeted.

The president’s recognition of Pride month was a first for his administration. Sadly, not all Republicans got the memo. At a town hall, Florida Rep. Mike Hill laughed at the suggestion gays be stoned to death. The Pensacola Republican, who has a history of homophobic tweets, was roundly condemned by members of both parties in Tallahassee. 

Republican Speaker of the House Jose Oliva said Hill’s “callous indifference to an outrageous question is unacceptable, runs contrary to our founding principles and in no way reflects the beliefs of the Florida House.”

Oliva has asked Hill to apologize while others are calling for resignation. Stephen Gaskill, 

president of the Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus, released the following statement:

“It’s appalling enough that Representative Hill believes LGBTQ people chose to be who we are. It’s disgraceful and beneath the office he holds to laugh and even encourage the execution of his own LGBTQ constituents. This is no laughing matter. With anti-LGBTQ violence on the rise, elected officials should be protecting, not attacking, their constituents. Representative Hill should resign today,” Gaskill said.

LGBT Field Notes:

In a bizarre turn of events, Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, declared he “used to be gay” but has been “cured.”

Duterte made the remarks in an appearance in Toyko, Japan last week. Duterte, 74, is a former mayor of Davao City, who rose to power with a tough on crime campaign, often voicing support for the extrajudicial killing of drug users by death squads. In his Toyko remarks, Duterte kissed women, awkwardly some say, and went on to declare he preferred beautiful women to handsome men.