In a turnabout from 2016, the National Log Cabin Republicans have endorsed Trump for re-election, asserting he “met his commitments” to LGBT people.
Robert Kabel and Jill Holman — who both are gay and serve as chair and vice chair of Log Cabin, respectively — announced the endorsement Thursday in an op-ed for the Washington Post.
“To be treated equally, fairly and justly under the law is our goal, and we know that ‘Inclusion Wins’ is a mantra we share with the president,” they write. “The Log Cabin Republicans endorse Donald Trump for re-election as president.”
The endorsement is a surprise for numerous reasons. For starters, critics have said the Trump administration is overwhelmingly hostile to LGBT rights.
The long list of grievances includes the transgender military ban, the exclusion of LGBT people from the enforcement of civil rights laws and actions undermining LGBT rights in the name of “religious freedom.”
Just this week, the Department of Labor announced a proposed rule that would undermine President Obama’s 2014 executive order against anti-LGBT workplace discrimination, allowing federal contractors to fire and refuse to hire LGBT employees by citing a religious objection.
Downplaying all that, the Log Cabin op-ed cites the Trump administration’s plan to beat the HIV epidemic by 2030, the global initiative to decriminalize homosexuality and the appointment of Richard Grenell, who’s gay, as U.S. ambassador to Germany.
“This is the party that Trump has helped make possible by moving past the culture wars that dominated the 1990s and early 2000s, in particular by removing gay rights as a wedge issue from the old Republican playbook,” Kabel and Homan write.
In conclusion, the op-ed acknowledges Log Cabin “do[es] not agree with every policy” of the Trump administration, making a reference to the transgender military ban.
“We are committed to letting all qualified Americans serve in the military, and Log Cabin Republicans was a leader in the legal fight to end the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy,” the op-ed says. “We oppose the transgender service restriction and will continue to press the administration to reconsider.”
Log Cabin declined in 2016 to endorse Trump. The Republican presidential nominee never met with the LGBT group, which at the time was a criterion for its support. (Log Cabin endorsed McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012 after the candidates met with the organization.)
The announcement also comes as a surprise because Log Cabin usually waits until the Republican National Convention to make an endorsement decision. With the convention in Charlotte, N.C., more than a year away, Log Cabin makes a drastic departure from its usual practice.
Absent from the op-ed is the name or signature of Jerri Ann Henry, who serves as executive director of Log Cabin.
The Washington Blade has placed a request in with Log Cabin seeking comment on whether Trump met with Log Cabin prior to the endorsement, why Henry’s name is absent and the timing of the announcement.
This article originally appeared in the Washington Blade and is made available in partnership with the National LGBT Media Association.