News & Opinion

Election 2020

Tiffany Trump’s ridiculous election campaign hits its ‘LGBQIA’ nadir

The Daily Beast

October 21, 2020

Tiffany Trump lied and gaslit through a “TrumpPride” speech, claiming her father was pro-“LGBQIA,” when in fact his administration’s homophobia and transphobia has been relentless.

There is no need, if you are a Trump supporter, to respond to this. Jog on. Your gaslighting and lies are better spread elsewhere. Whatever you claim about a day of clouds and rain (“It’s so sunny”) is usually the opposite of truth; whatever insult you level, baselessly, about a political opponent is only ever true of President Donald Trump or his allies. Up is down, round is square, and the most homophobic and transphobic president of modern times is really a gay savior.

His daughter Tiffany Trump addressed a “TrumpPride” event (this one over the weekend in Florida), claiming this steaming bag of falsehood to be true. I say address, but really “ramble pathetically” is more accurate.

It is almost sad watching Tiffany Trump doing this. For approval? To finally get a seat at the grift family table after years of being cast aside? Her desperation for whatever she wants is wincingly obvious, and her own tragic business. But Trump and his administration have done so much damage to LGBTQ people, and will likely do more in a second term, that this weird performance is not just sad and personal. Tiffany Trump is now an active accomplice in hurting LGBTQ people and their civil rights and should be judged as such.

Maybe her heart isn’t in what she has been tasked to do—lie so blatantly—but there Tiffany was, on a stage, saying something about her gay friends, and then saying something about her father supporting the “LGBQIA+ community.” The only positive: in purely camp terms, it was a strange, slurring car-crash of a speech. If they are doing another Valley of the Dolls remake—Valley of the Trolls?—this was a hell of an audition.

First, if you’re even at a place at producing unseen gay friends as a supposed badge of your inclusivity and acceptance of others, you have lost. Go home. Read some Armistead Maupin. Audre Lorde. Sarah Schulman. Jan Morris. Essex Hemphill. Edmund White. Educate yourselves.

“Some of my best friends are Black.” “Some of my best friends are gay.” These are the phrases of a brain-drained loser fool who knows they have not one substantial policy point to argue; who knows that if they allowed questions, if they were not in a room of dumb acolytes, that even the most glancing scrutiny would have them screaming for the exits.

Tiffany Trump knows this administration is homophobic, that it has been practicing homophobia and transphobia since 2016, and all she can say as a cover is, “I know gay people.” Well, if you do, Tiffany, they’re likely rich, vacuous, and as deeply disconnected from reality as you. They’re along for the free drinks and glittery thrills of your privileged world. They probably care as little about the reality of LGBTQ rights and equality as you do. You are a perfect, self-confirming fit for each other.

Yes, there are some votes there to firm up: a GLAAD survey of LGBTQ voters published at the beginning of October found an overwhelming majority—76 percent—were voting Joe Biden. 17 percent, however, were signed up for Trump. That is almost a fifth; a fifth of LGBTQ voters who have somehow looked past Trump’s active prejudice, torpedoing their rights, who will vote for him. In what looked and sounded like small numbers, a few of them were in that room in Florida cheering Tiffany Trump on.

LGBTQ right-wingers, who care about their own wealth and well-being above and beyond the safety and security of those less fortunate, are not small in numbers. Margaret Thatcher, famed for introducing the notorious legislation Section 28 in the 1980s, had a significant gay fan-base in the U.K. The Trump administration is courting this voting bloc, even as it plots to strip LGBTQ people of their civil rights. The major conservative LGBTQ group, Log Cabin Republicans, is supporting Trump.

What ugliness they all keep having to ignore. On Tuesday, people noted that Tiffany left out the “T” in the LGBTQIA+ acronym, i.e., trans people. As Donald Trump has made it his first administration’s mission to attack trans people at every turn, this was a meaningful omission even if it was unintended (which I doubt).

Note when watching the clip how congratulatory Tiffany is when she gets to the end of the acronym. That’s something so many of us have seen—the sense from people that just by mastering a group of letters, they have done good work. Their congratulate-me vibe is really a scowl at having to learn the letters in the first place. They really find the letters, the acronym, the having to care, an imposition. They get to the end of the acronym, and like Tiffany Trump shoot us the look of having just climbed Everest. She allows herself an “OK,” said like a petulant kid wanting praise for not snapping the wing off a bird. Tiffany Trump ends up calling us the “LGBQIA+ community,” whoever that is.

As the speech wends on, Tiffany seems to have either lost her notes, or just lost the will to continue with the charade. Her oratorical rollercoaster includes whipping the crowd up to welcome mom Marla Maples, then revealing that Marla had a Broadway friend who died of AIDS, and then claiming, “When my father says there will be a cure for AIDS within the next 10 years, there will be.” (Most experts want proof Trump is committed to AIDS research before hailing his promise.)

She also unintentionally reveals something about the homophobia her father’s administration is infamous for. “Prior to politics, he supported gays, lesbians, the LGBQIA+ community,” Tiffany says, struggling after the “I.” This unwittingly reveals how transactional Trump’s homophobia seems to be. If he was OK with (insert acronym here) before the election, what he’s doing in office against it is for the voters he values more. He must keep the evangelicals on board, to keep the far-right base and representatives who want Amy Coney Barrett in place on the Supreme Court to chip away at or roll back LGBTQ protections and a woman’s right to choose.

Tiffany Trump says Donald Trump has “always supported all of you. He’s never done it for politics, he’s not doing it for politics.” She says he “speaks from the heart,” and that while he may be “a little too hardcore… don’t we just want someone to get up there and speak, and make it happen?”

When has President Trump—originator of the ban of trans people in the military, who has sought to curtail trans equality in education and healthcare—ever stood up for LGBTQ people as president? His administration fought against the ultimately successful Supreme Court case culminating in LGBTQ people being protected from discrimination under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Trump has sought to install hundreds of right-leaning judges, including Barrett. What has his administration done, or even said, about the violence suffered by trans people; the murders of trans women, many of them Black? His administration, led by Mike Pence (everything that Trump is not, a true anti-LGBTQ believer), is supporting “religious liberty” as a battering ram against LGBTQ equality in the courts. LGBTQ rights under Trump—note that no-longer missing “T,” Tiffany—are not enhanced, they are imperiled.

Tiffany says she was worried when Trump ran for the Republican nomination because of the past “Republican establishment’s views towards this community.” But Donald Trump “can’t be bought off. He’s not going to let anyone change his views.”

This linguistic gloop recasts her father as a hero fighting the homophobia of the Republican party, rather than the sadder reality of him being its passive rubber stamper just to stay onside. He is an LGBTQ rights coward, not hero. For Trump, there is no conviction there, for pro or anti; just a calculated lack of care towards a minority to win votes. He will sign millions of peoples’ rights away, just to stay in power.

And here is Tiffany Trump, family reject turned wannabe main player, willing to lie and gaslight for a few extra votes. Well, good luck to her. If nothing else, she’s proved she really is one of the family, after all.