DeSantis campaign falsely paints Trump as supporter of LGBTQ rights

Republican presidential candidate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at the Moms for Liberty meeting in Philadelphia, Friday, June 30, 2023.
Republican presidential candidate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at the Moms for Liberty meeting in Philadelphia, Friday, June 30, 2023.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign concluded Pride Month by releasing a video attacking former president Donald Trump — who repeatedly targeted the LGBTQ community while in office — for his “support” of LGBTQ rights.

The video was a strange amalgamation of clips showing Trump speaking on LGBTQ issues, particularly transgender issues, before shifting to clips of DeSantis between movie clippings of shirtless and muscular men. The clip showed Trump stating that he would “do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens” and that he would allow Caitlyn Jenner to use the bathroom in accordance with her gender identity. The video promotes headlines pertaining to DeSantis’ transphobia — as if that should be a selling point for his campaign.

The video provoked criticism and backlash, particularly from the Republican party, though none has been shared from the Trump campaign. 

Log Cabin Republicans, a conservative group of gay rights activists, posted on their Twitter in response to the video, saying that it was “divisive and desperate” and that DeSantis’ rhetoric “has just ventured into homophobic territory.”

“Ron DeSantis and his team can’t tell the difference between commonsense gays and the radical Left gays,” Log Cabin Republicans said in a tweet. “He, sadly, sees them all the same. His naive policy positions are dangerous and politically stupid.”

Among others to comment on the video included former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Texas Congressman Will Hurd. 

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg also responded to the video, saying on CNN’s State of the Union that it was a strange way of “trying to prove one’s ‘manhood’ by “putting up a video that splices images of you in between oiled up, shirtless bodybuilders.”

“Who are you trying to help?” Buttigieg asked. “Who are you trying to make better off, and what public policy problems do you get up in the morning thinking about how to solve? I just don’t understand the mentality of somebody who gets up in the morning thinking that he’s going to prove his worth by competing over who can make life hardest for a hard hit community that is already so vulnerable in America.”

While DeSantis’ anti-LGBTQ positions have dominated news headlines since the emergence of his “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” law, Trump demonstrated his own hostility to queer people throughout his time in the White House. In just one term, Trump banned trans people from the military, carved out exceptions for foster care agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ parents, worked to gut LGBTQ protections in the Affordable Care Act, rescinded back Obama-era guidance protecting queer youth in schools, moved to allow shelters to turn away transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, and more.