Donald Trump Courts Anti-Gay Pastor in Dallas Just Days After Orlando Shooting

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

In the days following a mass shooting which killed at least 50 people, including the gunman, at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has attempted to get the LGBTQ community in his corner by suggesting his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton can't protect them against Islamic extremists.

Clinton "can never claim to be a friend of the gay community as long as she continues to support immigration policies that bring Islamic extremists into our country and who suppress women, gays and anyone else who doesn't share their views or values," Trump said at a rally on Monday.

But that didn't stop him from courting the favor of Pastor Robert Jeffress of Dallas, Texas, an anti-gay, religious-right leader who the candidate welcomed onstage at a rally in the city on Thursday.

Jeffress posted a photo of the meeting of minds to his main account on Thursday night, and it subsequently got retweeted to Trump's millions of Twitter followers the next day.

It's not the first time Trump and Jeffress have teamed up on the campaign trail, but the embrace of the pastor suggests Trump is more concerned with consolidating his support among Evangelical voters than convincing LGBTQ people he will be a reliable ally.

In 2014, Jeffress told radio host Alan Colmes gay marriage devalued the "real thing," saying "if marriage is whatever you define it to be, why bother to get married at all? Anytime you counterfeit something, you cheapen the value of the real thing."

As the Advocate notes, Jeffress has a long public record of statements bashing homosexuality as a "perversion" comparable to "bestiality, uh, incest or pedophilia." In a 2012 sermon, Jeffress warned his congregation "homosexual marriage" and other liberal social ideas might cause the almighty to smite the U.S., adding "there is absolutely no amount of armaments we could require to protect ourselves against the judgment of almighty God." In 2015, the Christian Post reported Jeffress claimed protecting LGBTQ people against discrimination by Christian business owners could "pave the way for that future world dictator, the Antichrist, to persecute and martyr Christians without any repercussions whatsoever."

As the Dallas Observer recounted last month, it's hardly the only subject on which Jeffress has strong opinions — including on the Supreme Court decision which legalized gay marriage nationwide, which he thinks is the worst SCOTUS decision in history.

The same day at the Dallas rally, Trump told his supporters "LGBT is starting to like Donald Trump very much lately," an apparent reference to the events of the past week.

That's certainly debatable. According to NBC News, a "Gallup poll conducted from June 1 to 16 found that 78 percent of Americans who identified as LGBT had an unfavorable opinion of Trump, versus 14 percent who had a favorable view."

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Tom McKay

Tom is a staff writer at Mic, covering national politics, media, policing and the war on drugs. He is based in New York and can be reached at tmckay@mic.com.

MORE FROM

NFL players donate $20,000 to youth football team that was punished for national anthem protest

"We wanted to make sure that we sent those kids the message that it's OK to stand up for what you believe in," Malcolm Jenkins said.

10 things you might have recently missed in the movement for social justice

From Charleena Lyles and Nabra Hassanen to acquittals and vigils, the last few days haven't been easy to keep up with.

Judge declares mistrial in retrial of officer who fatally shot Samuel DuBose

The jury spent five days deliberating Ray Tensing's fate.

University of Missouri to revoke Bill Cosby's honorary degree

The president of Mizzou said Cosby's actions were not in line with the university's core beliefs.

The Movement for Black Lives responds to recent claims of a fractured coalition

"We make no assumptions that everyone and everything within our movement is perfect — far from it," organizers said.

White Americans more likely to own guns, blacks more likely know someone who has been shot: study

New research reveals startling stats about the relationship African-Americans have with guns.

NFL players donate $20,000 to youth football team that was punished for national anthem protest

"We wanted to make sure that we sent those kids the message that it's OK to stand up for what you believe in," Malcolm Jenkins said.

10 things you might have recently missed in the movement for social justice

From Charleena Lyles and Nabra Hassanen to acquittals and vigils, the last few days haven't been easy to keep up with.

Judge declares mistrial in retrial of officer who fatally shot Samuel DuBose

The jury spent five days deliberating Ray Tensing's fate.

University of Missouri to revoke Bill Cosby's honorary degree

The president of Mizzou said Cosby's actions were not in line with the university's core beliefs.

The Movement for Black Lives responds to recent claims of a fractured coalition

"We make no assumptions that everyone and everything within our movement is perfect — far from it," organizers said.

White Americans more likely to own guns, blacks more likely know someone who has been shot: study

New research reveals startling stats about the relationship African-Americans have with guns.