Yesterday, while former FBI director James Comey was calling U.S. President Donald Trump a liar, Trump was speaking at the Faith and Freedom Coalition national conference, an evangelical Christian event filled with anti-LGBTQ speakers. We listened to his speech and pulled out all the important bits so you don’t have to.
Here’s the full 35-minute speech if you’re a glutton for punishment (followed by eight takeaways below):
1. He’s still taking a victory lap
He thanked evangelicals for helping him get elected by knocking doors, phone banking and e-mailing in key battleground states and said that they worked hard for “our shared cause.”
“You didn’t let me down and I will never ever let you down, you know that,” Trump said. “We will always support our evangelical community and defend your right and the right of all Americans to follow and to live by the teachings of their faith. And as you know, we’re under siege, you understand that. We will come out bigger and better and stronger than ever. You watch.”
He then blustered a bit about fighting for “America first” and making sure that “the forgotten people” are never forgotten again. He then made a general reference to those who would stop “this righteous cause,” adding, “They will lie, they will obstruct, they will spread their hatred and prejudice, but we will not back down from doing what is right.”
He later referred to Democrats repeatedly as obstructionists.
2. Delivering racial dog whistles to white voters
He added that God would help the people “get the change that they voted” for and that they “so richly deserve,” touting his own alleged accomplishments of increasing military spending and reducing illegal immigration and cracking down on sanctuary cities that protect “gangs and drug dealers.”
“I believe that people who come to our country should love our citizens and embrace our values. Our values,” Trump said.
Throughout his campaign, Trump infamously touted his immigration policy as a way to get rid of Mexican drug dealers and rapists coming over the border and talked about getting tough on crime in the inner cities, a way of backing police practices that primarily target people of color.
3. Appointing an anti-LGBTQ Supreme Court Justice?
Trump praised himself for appointing a Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, “in the mold of the late, great Antonin Scalia” (the deceased Supreme Court justice who sided with very anti-LGBTQ positions on court cases).
While Gorsuch himself has said very little about LGBTQ rights, his previous record and statements raise serious concerns that he might rule against expanding queer rights under the U.S. Constitution.
4. Exaggerating the impact of his religious liberty executive order
“On the National Day of Prayer,” he said, “I signed, as I promised I would, a new executive action protecting religious liberty in America.”
The executive order he’s referring to accomplished virtually nothing apart from emboldening religious groups to pursue discriminatory actions in the public sphere.
He also claimed that his the order helped stop the Johnson Amendment, a 1954 law barring churches from making political endorsements: “This executive order instructs the IRS not to unfairly target churches and religious organizations for political speech so the people that you most respect can now feel free to speak to you.” He added, “It was a big deal and a very important thing for me to do for you.”
However, this claim is slightly absurd because churches have openly flouted the Johnson Amendment for decades without any governmental repercussions.
5. Putting religion back in schools
“Schools should not be a place that drive out religions,” Trump said, “It is time to put a stop to the attacks on religion.”
He continued, “We know that families and churches, not government officials know best how to create a strong and loving communities. We know that parents, not bureaucrats know best how best to raise children and create a thriving society.”
“And above all else we know that in America, we don’t worship government, we worship God.”
He didn’t mention any specific plans to put religion back in schools, but considering that his Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is okay with federally funded schools discriminating against LGBTQ students, perhaps that’s part of his idea.
6. Celebrating the founder of an anti-LGBTQ hate group
During his speech, Trump also honored Dr. James Dobson — a fellow speaker at the conference and founder of the anti-LGBTQ hate group, Focus on the Family, who has said that gay rights will destroy Christianity and America. He mentioned Dobson by name, asked him to stand up and mentioned his lifetime achievement award to be bestowed later in the conference.
7. Bragging about killing Obamacare
A section of Trump’s speech celebrated the “death spiral” of the Affordable Health Care Act (aka. Obamacare) and the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act (aka. Trumpcare) in the U.S. House, even though it will slash Medicaid, increase costs for nearly 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions and leave millions uninsured, including LGBTQ people and people living with HIV.
8. Pushing his travel ban
Near the end of his speech, Trump said, “Every day, our brave men and women in uniform are risking their lives to keep this country safe from murderous groups like ISIS, Al Queada, so many more. We must confront this evil that confronts humanity and eradicate it from our planet.”
He later said, “We cannot allow radical Islamic terrorism to spread in our country or allow extremists to find sanctuary on our shores,” an apparent nod to his Muslim travel ban which is currently held up in courts.
This line is interesting insofar as his campaign promise “to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of the hateful, foreign ideology.” It’s important to note that Muslims are those harmed most by such terrorist groups and that no legal refugee in the U.S. has ever carried out a terrorist attack since 1980 (and even before then, the attacks were carried out by Cubans, not Middle Easterners or Muslims).
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