Accuracy in Media

Judd Deere was able to walk in the Washington, D.C., gay pride parade without being harassed, but it was only because no one realized he was the No.2 person in President Trump’s press office, according to a story Monday on BuzzFeed.

Deere was “just one of the gays” at the parade a few weeks ago, linking arms with his boyfriend to take a photo in front of a rainbow flag, wrote Dominic Holden in “This Trump Spokesperson is Gay – And He Doesn’t Care If That Makes The Left Mad” – subhead: “Trump’s deputy press secretary Judd Deere on what it’s like to be gay and speak for the president who pushes anti-LGBTQ policies.”

“But in a city where President Donald Trump got only 4 percent of the vote, Deere was actually quite unlike the rest of the crowd, who wore ‘F—k Trump’ buttons as they excoriated the president for an anti-LGBTQ agenda. …

“Had other Pride-goers known who Deere is, he might have been booed himself. Deere is not only a gay Republican but also a prominent West Wing aide to the president of the United States.”

Holden quotes Deere saying people in the White House, including Trump, do not treat him any differently because he is gay and that he’s “clearly been hired and promoted since I got here, and I’m completely open about who I am.”

Holden then writes, “The fact that gay men can rise through the ranks in the White House, Deere argues, proves the president likes LGBTQ people (despite a litany of policies and positions that target them in workplaces, hospitals, shops, homeless shelters and more).”

There are links attached to the words ‘workplaces,’ ‘hospitals,’ ‘shops’ and ‘homeless shelters.’ The link on ‘workplaces’ and on ‘hospitals’ goes to a story about the Department of Health and Human Services changing rules – in response to lawsuits – that ensure the government does not pay for abortions by clarifying the definition of the phrase “on the basis of sex” in discrimination guidelines.

The link on ‘shops’ goes to a story about the Trump administration defending Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, who declined to create a special cake for a gay wedding because of his religious beliefs. The link on ‘homeless shelters’ goes to a story about the Trump administration backing shelter operators who insist people in shelters be quartered with people of their natural gender.

Trump’s hiring of Deere and others, including Ric Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, his tweets honoring LGBT Pride Month and his statement condemning the “dozens of countries worldwide that punish, imprison or even execute individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation” and mentioning the administration has “launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality and invites all nations to join us in this effort” are not so much the president’s doing as “a trend of growing conditional acceptance within conservative circles,” Holden writes.

“Conservatives can be fine having gay Republicans around – particularly white gay men, who reflect the same bloc that makes up Trump’s white male base,” Holden wrote, despite polling that says Trump is more popular among Republican women than men.

“These gay people enjoy a retractable leash that gives them access to social networks and power – as long as they share other Republican priorities, like a border wall and gun rights, and don’t dwell on their sexuality or gay rights,” Holden wrote. “In this arrangement, conservatives can be accommodating to people, provided it remains legal to discriminate against them.”

Holden then admits “Deere’s defense of Trump on LGBTQ rights – like many gay Republicans’ – rests on a vivid conviction: None of the president’s stances are actually discriminatory. That transgender military ban? A matter of troop combat readiness. Policies to protect religious health care workers who deny services? That merely preserves conscience rights. Arguing that a Christian baker can refuse a wedding cake to a gay couple?

“’Yeah, that’s fine,’ said Deere, who said the baker would have sold the couple a cake for any other purpose. ‘I’ll just go find another cake shop that will.’”

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