LGBTQ advocacy organizations GLAAD and Victory Fund, have jointly condemned false, homophobic and transphobic campaign text messages and ads against Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. The messages themselves are on behalf of the American Principles Project, a conservative political action committee.
“Text messages from APP, received by phone numbers in central and northern Pennsylvania, are misleading or false in every sentence. APP is a PAC that has made transphobic campaign ads posted to Twitter and Facebook and targeted to at least four states — North Carolina, Kentucky, Michigan and Wisconsin,” read a press release from the two groups.
Facebook posts with a similarly inaccurate quote were shared thousands of times, prompting fact checks from Reuters, The Associated Press and USA Today. Each of the quotes were found to be false and fabricated. GLAAD has also alerted Facebook about APP ads falsely quoting VP Biden’s town hall comments and running in Michigan.
Here are the facts about what was said in the town hall on Oct. 15 in Philadelphia. Biden was asked by a mother of a transgender child about the Trump administration’s attacks against the transgender community, accurately describing President Trump’s ban on transgender military service and how the Trump administration has weakened discrimination protections. The mother, Mieke Haeke from State College, Pennsylvania, asked, “How will you as President reverse this dangerous and discriminatory agenda and ensure that the lives and rights of LGBTQ people are protected under U.S. law?”
Biden replied, “I will flat out just change the law. Eliminate those executive orders.”
He went on to talk about the epidemic of violence against transgender women, and especially transgender women of color, describe an earlier encounter in his life with LGBTQ men that shaped his acceptance of LGBTQ people overall.
“The idea that a 10-year-old or 8-year-old child says, I decided, I’d like to be transgender. That’s who I’d like to be, make my life a lot easier. There should be zero discrimination,” he said.
Witness the full exchange here:
Asked by a mother of a transgender child about what he will do to protect LGBTQ rights, former VP Biden says: “I will flat out just change the law.” https://t.co/JEyTOkB6qk #BidenTownHall pic.twitter.com/fxg7AhKwHG
— ABC News (@ABC) October 16, 2020
GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis had this to say about APP’s ads.
“The concerted effort to fabricate and disseminate false quotes to voters is irresponsible and shameful,” Ellis said. “The video and the transcript clearly show what was said, and what voters in Pennsylvania value: truth, respect and dignity for all people. These inaccurate and misleading texts and made-up quotes misrepresent a candidate’s words and fail to support transgender children and people, a community that needs our empathy and protection.”
This campaign follows another homophobic one released by APP in September that targeted Michigan voters. Two ads were removed because they violated Facebook Advertising Policies. As Politico reported in August, APP has attempted similar transphobic ads in North Carolina and Kentucky. Victory Fund’s president and CEO Annise Parker said that APP was attempting to “weaponize trans issues for electoral gain.”
“Their disregard for the truth — much less the impact it has on the lives and health of trans Americans — is an insult to voters and to anyone who demands decency in our political discourse,” Parker said. “The good people on both sides of the partisan divide must condemn these tactics, whether aimed at the presidential candidates or the dozens of courageous trans candidates running nationwide.”