Trump Says He Doesn’t Know About Report That Administration Is Working to Decriminalize Homosexuality Overseas

By Melanie Arter | February 20, 2019 | 4:19pm EST
SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR - JUNE 30: Salvadorans participate in the gay parade on June 30, 2018 in San Salvador, El Salvador. More than 12 thousand members of the LGBT community participated in this parade. (Photo by Alex Peña/Getty Images)

During a White House Oval Office meeting with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he didn’t know anything about a report that his administration is working to decriminalize homosexuality in foreign countries.

When asked to comment on the NBC News report that the Trump administration launched a global effort to decriminalize homosexuality in countries overseas, the president said he didn’t know which report the reporter was referring to.

“On the report to decriminalize homosexuality, are you doing that? And why?” a reporter asked.

“I don’t know which report you’re talking about. We have many reports,” Trump responded.

As previously reported, U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, the highest profile openly gay person in the Trump administration, is leading the effort, which includes flying in LGBT activists from Europe for a strategy dinner aimed at decriminalizing homosexuality in places like the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean, NBC News reported.


Planning for the effort reportedly began before UN Ambassador Nikki Haley announced plans to resign.

The Human Rights Campaign greeted the news with skepticism, the Daily Beast reported.

“If this commitment is real, we have a lot of questions about their intentions and commitments, and are eager to see what proof and action will follow,” Human Rights Campaign senior international policy advocate Jeremy Kadden said in a statement.

He accused the administration of turning “a blind eye” to violence against LGBT people in Chechnya that has gone on for years and working to undermine the equality of LGBT people domestically.

“Donald Trump and Mike Pence have turned a blind eye to a campaign of violence and murder targeting LGBTQ people in Chechnya that has stretched on for two years,” said Kadden.

“They have turned away LGBTQ people fleeing violence and persecution and sent them back to countries that criminalize them, and have consistently worked to undermine the fundamental equality of LGBTQ people and our families here at home from day one,” he added.                                                    



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