February 22, 2019
President Trump seemed unaware that his administration launched a global campaign on Tuesday to decriminalize homosexuality.
Richard Grenell is the administration’s highest-ranking openly gay person. As US ambassador to Germany, he spearheaded a caucus dinner in Berlin to discuss ways of ending the persecution of members of the LGBTQ community.
The program focus on the 71 countries in which homosexuality is illegal, and in some countries punishable by death.
After the recent hanging of an Iranian gay man, the Trump administration gave Richard Grenell the reigns in his LGBTQ decriminalization effort, which at the time seemed to focus more on the Arab world and Africa.
Attacks on Iran on this front may get the rest of Europe to side with the US against Iran. But with all the noise made about Grenell’s trip to Berlin, President Trump seems to know nothing of the effort. On Wednesday in the Oval Office, a reporter asked President Trump:
“Mr. President, on your push to decriminalize homosexuality — are you doing that? And why?”
Unaware of what the reporter referred to, Trump responded, “Say it?” The reporter tried to clarify the question, “Your push to decriminalize homosexuality across the world.”
Blankly Donald Trump said, “I don't know, uh, which report you're talking about. We have many reports."
On Tuesday, deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino downplayed Grenell’s efforts during a briefing with reporters at the State Department. He called the effort “long-standing” and that it's “really not a big policy departure,” and elaborated:
“I would say that this is a good opportunity to listen and to discuss ideas about how the United States can advance decriminalization of homosexuality around the world, and that’s been our policy.”
Skeptic about the efforts from the administration, the LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD said:
“We’d believe that the Trump administration will work to protect LGBTQ people around the world if they had not attacked LGBTQ people in the U.S. over 90 times since taking office.”
Members of the LGBTQ community agreed, as one person responded to GLAAD's tweet:
During the meeting Grenell had with various other LGBTQ activists around Europe in Berlin, they started working on a strategy to eradicate the criminalization of homosexuals. After the meeting Richard felt inspired and posted an update on Twitter:
Likely to work with the United Nations, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, they also want to pull in other US embassies and diplomatic posts in Europe. The US Mission to the E.U. are already involved, as is the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
During this year’s National Prayer Breakfast held at the Washington Hilton, Trump gave a speech regarding religious beliefs and adoption.
While being notoriously ambiguous when it comes to the LGBTQ community, he thanked second lady Karen Spence for working at a school which openly discriminates against the LGBTQ people and their rights.