Republican Presidential nominee Donald J. Trump made history Sunday and the political media barely noticed. Or maybe they did see it - but since it didn’t fit the narrative of what a Republican is supposed to look like they decided to ignore it.
On Sunday, at a rally in Colorado, Mr. Trump proudly held up a rainbow flag with the words “LGBT for Trump” written on it to a cheering crowd of thousands. It was an historic moment for gay equality and the Party of Lincoln as the 2016 GOP nominee for President of the United States held high the flag for gay equality. No other Republican Presidential nominee in history has embraced the LGBT community in such a loud and proud way.
And yet, the moment was barely reported by the media despite the fact it happened in front of the traveling press corps accompanying Mr. Trump. Political reporters, not unsurprising, largely failed to write on the moment where a Republican challenged their negative media stereotype.
But the moment was nevertheless historic. Trump walked on stage in Greeley, Colorado to a large cheering crowd when he spotted a rainbow flag in the audience. As the music blasted through the speakers, Mr. Trump pointed to a supporter as if to ask if he could see his flag and then motioned for a campaign worker to help retrieve the LGBT symbol of equality from the attendee.
Within seconds, Mr. Trump was walking around the platform with the rainbow flag in his hands and moments later unfurled it in full display. You could see a huge smile on Mr. Trump’s face as he walked to both sides of the stage to proudly hold up the rainbow flag announcing support from the gay and lesbian community.
Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller told me, “Mr. Trump is campaigning to be President for ALL Americans and was proud to carry the ‘LGBT for Trump’ rainbow flag on stage in Greeley, CO yesterday. He will protect all Americans from the radical Islamic extremists who perpetuate hate and violence around the world, unlike Hillary Clinton who dangerously plans for open borders and has accepted millions of dollars from repressive regimes with a history of violence, discrimination and oppression against women, gays and minorities.”
The moment wasn’t the first time Mr. Trump made history for his support for LGBT equality, either. In Cleveland, Ohio, in July, he spoke to the Republican National Committee (RNC) and voiced his support for LGBT equality, even interrupting his nomination speech to thank the thousands of delegates and attendees for cheering and clapping when he announced his support. It was the first time a GOP nominee embraced the gay and lesbian voter and appealed for their support in their nomination speech. Mr. Trump also invited PayPal co-Founder Peter Thiel to speak at the RNC Convention in Cleveland where Mr. Thiel announced that he was gay and proud, making him the first Republican National Convention speaker in history to openly embrace his sexuality in a prepared speech.
Sadly, Mr. Trump’s embrace of the rainbow flag Sunday was largely ignored by the DC media types who four years earlier wrote widely and extensively about Mitt Romney’s inability to talk openly about LGBT equality in his 2012 bid for President. Mr. Romney failed to confront the loud religious right activists who condemned him for hiring gay campaign staffers prompting the political media to have a field day turning the moment into what they called a failure to lead all Americans. The news coverage in 2012 about Mr. Romney’s inability to appeal to gay and lesbian voters was a constant theme of the political media whenever the issue of gay marriage came up.
Today, however, Mr. Trump’s easy and consistent embrace of the LGBT community is rarely highlighted by the same media crowd. In fact, some liberal reporters have even tried to falsely claim that Trump is a traditional Republican nominee on the issue of gay equality.
While it has been mostly unreported, Mr. Trump has embraced the LGBT community like no other GOP nominee in history. His rainbow flag waiving in Colorado was only the latest sign of his continued support for gay equality. Whatever happens on November 8, 2016 in the presidential race, Mr. Trump has forever changed the Republican party’s support for LGBT equality and future Republican leaders will have a difficult time not meeting the new standard.
Richard Grenell served as the U.S. spokesman for four U.S. Ambassadors to the United Nations. He is the longest-serving American to hold that position, having served from 2001-2008.