45’s ‘hang the gays’ joke not the worst thing in the New Yorker about Veep

President Trump and Vice-President Pence. Carolyn Kaster, AP.

Twitter is trending heavily, particularly on LGBT+ pages, about President Donald Trump “joking” that Vice President Mike Pence wants “to hang them all” when a discussion turned to LGBT+ rights. The exchange was part of a New Yorker story posted Monday.

The New Yorker article by Jane Mayer is titled “The Danger of President Pence”. Mayer wrote: “During a meeting with a legal scholar, Trump belittled Pence’s determination to overturn Roe v. Wade. The legal scholar had said that, if the Supreme Court did so, many states would likely legalize abortion on their own. ‘You see?’ Trump asked Pence. ‘You’ve wasted all this time and energy on it, and it’s not going to end abortion anyway.’ When the conversation turned to gay rights, Trump motioned toward Pence and joked, ‘Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!’”

It’s certainly disturbing that the president thinks killing gays – or anybody else – is a suitable topic for a joke. And LGBT+ activists and the LGBT+ community are justified in their disgust at the president’s comment.

But perhaps, what’s even more disturbing about the over 13,000 word article is what a Pence presidency would mean, not only for LGBT+ rights, but for the country as a whole.

LGBT+ citizens will recall that in 2015, then Governor Pence, of Indiana, signed a bill that would have legalized discrimination against LGBT+ people by businesses in the state.

“In the spring of 2015, Pence signed a bill called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which he presented as innocuous. ‘He said it protected religious freedom, and who’s against that?’ [an advisor] recalled,” wrote Mayer.

“But then a photograph of the closed signing session surfaced. It showed Pence surrounded by monks and nuns, along with three of the most virulently anti-gay activists in the state. The image went viral. Indiana residents began examining the law more closely, and discovered that it essentially legalized discrimination against homosexuals by businesses in the state.”

“Trump’s second-in-command – and next-in-line for the presidency, should Trump be impeached – is the most homophobic politician to hold such a high office in recent history,” said Pink News in an article touching on the ‘hang the gays’ quote.

“Pence, a hardline evangelical who has not supported a single LGBT reform across nearly two decades in politics, has one of the worst records on equality of any President or Vice President in living memory.”

That certainly should alarm LGBT+ people across the nation.

For more coverage about VP Pence, visit:
Conservatives urged not to 'squander' Trump presidency
Pence slams report on possible 2020 presidential groundwork.

Everyone should be alarmed by another revelation in the Mayer New Yorker story. That is the extreme influence that Charles and David Koch – the Koch brothers, as they are widely referred to – have over Mike Pence.

Pence wasn’t on the Koch’s radar until he helped them, apparently without them asking, make sure that Congress did not pass what they referred to as a “climate tax”. The Kochs cooked up a “No Climate Tax” pledge, in which members of Congress would pledge not to impose a tax on carbon pollution as part of a “cap and trade” bill that was being considered in 2009. Such a tax would have cost the Koch brothers billions of dollars. With Pence’s help, the bill was defeated.

After that, the Kochs have showered money on Pence campaigns, and eventually, after his selection as the vice-president nominee, on the Trump campaign.

Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat, told Mayer, “If Pence were to become President for any reason, the government would be run by the Koch brothers—period. He’s been their tool for years.”

He continued, “One by one, all the things that Trump campaigned on that annoyed the Koch brothers are being thrown overboard. And one by one the Koch brothers’ priorities are moving up the list.”

“[Steve] Bannon is equally alarmed at the prospect of a Pence Presidency,” wrote Mayer. ”He told me, ‘I’m concerned he’d be a President that the Kochs would own.’”

Yes, the president's attempt at humor is appalling. But, with liberals and some Republicans calling for Trump’s impeachment, perhaps we should consider what a Pence presidency might mean for LGBT+ rights, and for energy policy and social issues as a whole. Mike Pence is the guy we get if Trump is turned out of office.

You can read the entire New Yorker article here.

Copyright The Gayly – October 17, 2017 @ 12:45 p.m. CDT.