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Log Cabin Republicans Decline To Endorse Trump Despite Pro-LGBT Leanings


The flight of Republicans from Donald Trump continues. Over the weekend, the Log Cabin Republicans, the gay Republican group, declared it would not endorse the party's nominee. It does call Trump - and this is a quote - perhaps the most pro-LGBT presidential nominee in the history of the Republican Party but no endorsement. We are joined now by Gregory Angelo, who's president of the Log Cabin Republicans. Welcome to the program.

GREGORY ANGELO: Thank you for having me back.

SIEGEL: We spoke last July at the Republican convention in Cleveland. You had major concerns about the party platform, but by the end of that convention, you were jubilant. You called the convention the most pro-LGBT in the party's 162-year year history, and you tweeted, we witnessed the total transformation of the GOP tonight - no turning back now. We have turned back. What has changed for you since July?

ANGELO: Nothing actually has changed me. The Log Cabin Republicans' national board of directors felt there was sufficient uncertainty about what a Trump presidency would look like to come to the conclusion that we should not issue an endorsement of our nominee at this time.

If Donald Trump were to become our 45th president, would we see a Donald Trump that stood on the sidelines as the GOP passed the most anti-LGBT platform in the party's history, or would we see the Donald Trump that presided over the most pro-LGBT convention in this country's history?

SIEGEL: But by the time we were in Cleveland at the convention, Donald Trump had chosen Mike Pence as his running mate. Pence's record on gay issues was clear. He championed the Indiana law that defended merchants who wanted to withhold service from gays on religious grounds. Wasn't that a tip off that the party was not moving in a very liberal direction?

ANGELO: No, not necessarily. I mean I think Donald Trump's choice of Mike Pence as VP was a move to shore up the evangelical Christian base in the party, and I have also said that Mike Pence can do far less damage to the LGBT community in the largely symbolic role of vice president than he ever could or did as the chief executive of the state of Indiana.

SIEGEL: This was a convention in which Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur, spoke and said, I'm gay. That's not the only thing he is, but he said that. Donald Trump used the phrase LGBT and added Q...

ANGELO: That's right.

SIEGEL: ...To suggest he's at least current and open to all of these things. That I gather is what you're describing as the convention that was the most progressive.

ANGELO: That's right. And what are conventions beyond a nominating process for a party's presidential candidate? There are a lot of speeches, right? And there's a difference between pro-LGBT rhetoric and pro-LGBT policy.

That's really what's at the crux of our decision to withhold an endorsement here, is, while that GOP convention marked a sea change in terms of the way the GOP talks about LGBT individuals, there are still major policy concerns that we have. And there's still a great deal of uncertainty about what a Trump administration would mean for those policies.

SIEGEL: What are those major policy concerns?

ANGELO: Preservation of the executive order started under Lyndon Johnson amended under Bill Clinton to include sexual orientation non-discrimination maintained under President George W. Bush and slightly amended under President Obama to include gender identity in addition to sexual orientation among federal contractors is something Log Cabin Republicans would like to see maintained in a Trump administration.

Now, while Donald Trump has said his first day in office he would overturn and nullify every one of President Obama's, quote, "unconstitutional executive orders," we have not received an adequate response as to whether or not he feels that executive order is itself unconstitutional.

You know, all of my conversations with the Trump campaign, senior advisers to the Trump campaign were essentially boiled down to the same mantra. You don't have anything to worry about when it comes to the LGBT stuff with Donald Trump. And while we may not have anything to worry about, those would just be assumptions at this point.

SIEGEL: Gregory Angelo, thanks for talking with us.

ANGELO: My pleasure.

SIEGEL: Gregory Angelo is president of the Log Cabin Republicans. That group says it is not endorsing Donald Trump for president Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.