You’d be forgiven if you assumed this was one of the many parody accounts that troll Trump on Twitter:
It is, however, real. The President tweeted the above on Friday, just days before his visit to India. GLAAD tweeted back to him here.
On one hand, it tracks. This is someone who always seems more concerned about being a showman than a statesman, so it’s unsurprising that he’d focus on a film involving LGBTQ people as a sign of progress, all while enacting policies, supporting court cases, appointing senior officials, and campaigning alongside surrogates that stand in opposition to LGBTQ rights. It’s actually pretty on brand for him to applaud something that’s surface level and ultimately fiction, all while ignoring and failing to take responsibility for his own consequential choices.
It also follows along the “least you can do” patterns that this president and prominent surrogates have shown since coming onto the national stage. While a candidate, Trump promised to be “better than Hillary” on LGBTQ rights, but has proceeded to sign Executive Orders that Secretary Clinton would have shredded, appointed judges that Secretary Clinton would have opposed, and stood against legislation that Secretary Clinton has endorsed. He held up a Pride Flag, yet has never so much as issued a Pride Proclamation (something President Obama did every year). His administration has acted like it’s making a global push to decriminalize homosexuality worldwide, but when he was asked about it, he clearly didn’t know the first thing about it, and his own state department admitted it was nothing new .
The list goes on and on. This president and his team have taken occasional baby steps into the most simple forms of recognition, but they never marry those rhetorical attempts to appease the Log Cabin Republicans with any sort of concrete action. Ivanka Trump might tweet out a pride message once in three years, but the administration for which she works has literally banned certain pride flags. The Trump campaign might sell rainbow tee shirts, but it’s an empty gesture with no policy backing. This one-word celebration of a movie is just more of the same.
But what it mostly is? Pandering. After more than three years of attempting to ban transgender people from the military, standing against multiple Supreme Court cases that would secure LGBTQ protections, opposing the Equality Act, reversing Obama era polices that expanded freedoms, pushing for anti-LGBTQ “religious freedom” protections, and buddying up with some of the LGBTQ community’s most ardent opponents, Team Trump wants some little thing they can grab onto so that casual backers can claim support in everyday conversations. “He’s not anti-gay — he just said he liked a gay movie in India!” For some voters, that’s enough. Not everyone does deep dives on political records, much preferring their opinions to be served to them in bite-sized morsels. And that’s exactly what this is: a little nugget that is far too small to drive away the support that radical anti-LGBTQ activists like Tony Perkins or Robert Jeffress are showing this president, but big enough for a midwestern mom with an LGBTQ kid to see as a ray of hope.
It is exactly why we must be extra vigilant about showing the truth. The president’s supporters are going to whip out rainbow-hued gaslights and try to dupe you into believing what you’ve heard about their guy is all “fake news,” and that he’s actually a covert ally. Don’t buy it, and make sure no one you know buys it either! GLAAD’s Trump Accountability Project has arduously tracked 136 attacks in the past 1130 days, and there will surely be more between now and election day. A tweeted “Great!” does not absolve such a dense record.