Partnering with the embattled Governor of Indiana was a strategic marriage a feudal dynast could be proud of. Pence, though wildly unpopular following his Religious Freedom Restoration act, is a born-again evangelical, a demographic Trump desperately needs to court.
Trump has admitted as much.
“I think if you look at one of the big reasons that I chose Mike – and one of the reasons is party unity,” Trump said the day he announced Pence as his VP pick. “I have to be honest.”
It’s a match made in hell. Trump was uneasy about Pence from the beginning. Reports surfaced that Trump wanted to change his mind up to the very last moment. In December of 2015, Pence referred to Trump’s proposed Muslim travel ban as “offensive and unconstitutional.”
But if Trump is to run as a Republican, he must embrace the zealots. And if he is to embrace the zealots, he must engage in that most time-honored tradition of the religious right: scapegoating the LGBT community.
On the eve of the two-month anniversary of the Pulse massacre, where we lost 49 of our LGBT brothers and sisters, Donald Trump is speaking at an anti-LGBT summit in Orlando called “Rediscovering God in America Renewal Project”.
“Ask yourself, who is really the friend of women and the LGBT community,” Trump said in a speech after Pulse in which he directly referred to Islam. “Donald Trump with his actions, or Hillary Clinton with her words?”
Attending an anti-gay summit in Orlando so soon after Pulse is, of course, an “action” from Donald Trump, one that exposes an unsettling truth for Democrats and Republicans alike: religious extremists are pulling at least some of the strings now.
Donald Trump is a weak candidate. Donald Trump is easy to manipulate. All evidence suggests that, at the end of the day, he’s just not very smart. And the religious right is taking full advantage.
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