Gay conservative group loses several leaders after Trump endorsement

Board member Jennifer Horn was among those who cut ties with the Log Cabin Republicans. She said Trump “will divide and damage and destroy this country.”
By Gwen Aviles

A number of leaders and members of the Log Cabin Republicans have left the national gay conservative group following its endorsement of President Donald Trump’s re-election bid in a Washington Post op-ed published last week — and other defectors could follow.

Jennifer Horn announced her resignation from the organization’s board Monday, stating that she made a promise to herself when she entered politics that she would “never say or do anything that I could not explain to my own children.” Endorsing another four years of the current administration fell under this category, she said.

“It’s not just the LGBTQ community this president targets. When we look at immigrants, people — anyone that he thinks he can somehow use to anger his base — he doesn’t care if he has to divide on racial lines, on ethnic lines, on educational lines,” Horn told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Tuesday. “He will divide and damage and destroy this country in any manner he thinks he needs to advance his own political power.”

Horn joined Robert Turner, the former president of the Log Cabin Republicans’ Washington, D.C., chapter, and Jordan Evans, the first openly transgender Republican elected official, in denouncing and exiting the group.

“It saddens me greatly to say that today, I am ending my association with Log Cabin Republicans, an organization I’ve been heavily involved with for the last decade — including serving as president of the D.C. chapter for three years,” Turner said in a Facebook post.

Turner went on to add that there were still a number of “great” people involved in the organization, and he named Jerri Ann Henry, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, whose name did not appear on the group’s op-ed endorsement, as an example.

“But for me, there’s no more fight left,” Turner added. “The national board’s endorsement of Trump, and their subsequent and hollow WaPo op-ed, is a step too far. And this leaves me sad.”

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Evans expressed concern over the Log Cabin Republicans’ diminished relevancy in the wake of its endorsement.

“We have alienated our peers,” Evans wrote in a recent op-ed for the LGBTQ newsmagazine The Advocate. “As is already being seen, we have become increasingly ostracized since making the announcement … we have irreparably weakened our ability to contribute a conservative voice to the broader queer discourse of tomorrow.”

Casey Pick, who served as the programs director for the Log Cabin Republicans from 2010-2013, started distancing herself from the group after the 2012 presidential election, but was ready to give the organization another chance after Henry was hired last year.

“I was hopeful that despite watching the organization’s slide toward Trump apologism under Gregory T. Angelo (the group’s former president), their hiring a skilled and principled operative like Henry meant the organization would finally be able to again be a conscience this party needs,” Pick wrote in a post. “I publicly celebrated her hiring, and encouraged my peers in the LGBT advocacy community to give LCR another shot, knowing that a vibrant and effective Log Cabin could be a godsend during a Trump/Pence administration.”

Yet, Pick said, Henry’s “hands have been tied” and instead of espousing a progressive mission, the group “increasingly fulfills the stereotypes that used to be hurled at Log Cabin Republicans: overwhelmingly gay men who are indifferent to the experiences of women, transgender Americans, or LGBT people who lack the financial or social resources to protect them from the discrimination that they so often deny even exists.”

As a result, she said, she no longer wants to be aligned with the organization.

The Log Cabin Republicans endorsement of Trump marks a reversal from its 2016 stance, when the former board voted against endorsing him.

Charles Moran, the national spokesman for the Log Cabin Republicans, appeared on MSNBC on Wednesday to discuss reactions to the endorsement and Horn’s resignation from the board.

The Log Cabin Republicans “almost unanimously voted to endorse him,” Moran said. “We’re most likely not going to reconsider the endorsement.”

He echoed the message shared in the op-ed: While the Log Cabin Republicans don’t agree with every action Trump has taken, the group’s leadership believes that overall his presidency has benefited the LGBTQ community.

“The president’s tax cuts have benefited LGBTQ families and helped put food on their tables. His opportunity zones have helped create new LGBTQ-founded small businesses,” board members wrote in their endorsement. “The administration’s aggressive negotiations on trade deals have preserved LGBTQ jobs. His hard line on foreign policy has protected LGBTQ lives.”

The group also cited Trump’s commitment to end HIV/AIDS in 10 years, which was met both with cautious optimism and flat-out skepticism, and his work with Richard Grenell, the openly gay U.S. ambassador to Germany, to encourage other nations to end the criminalization of homosexuality, as examples of his dedication to the LGBTQ community.

Just one day after the Log Cabin Republicans endorsement, the Trump administration last Friday filed a brief with the Supreme Court arguing that transgender workers are not protected by federal civil rights law and can be fired because of their gender identity. The administration also unveiled earlier in the week a proposed rule that seeks to make it easier for companies to discriminate against LGBTQ employees.

When asked about the proposed rule yesterday, Trump dodged the question.

"I think I've done really very well with that community," Trump said, before touting his recent endorsement from the Log Cabin Republicans. "They like the job I'm doing."

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