Vice President Mike Pence
The White House has dismissed claims that President Donald Trump joked that Vice President Mike Pence wants to “hang” all gay people.
The report was published in a New Yorker article by Jane Mayer about what might happen if Trump left office and Pence took over the presidency, titled The Danger of President Pence.
According to Mayer, two sources recalled Trump “needling Pence about his views on abortion and homosexuality” in a conversation.
When the topic turned to gay rights, Trump gestured to Pence and quipped: “Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!”
The report highlights Pence’s evangelical and rightwing stance on LGBTQ equality, including opposing same-sex marriage and transgender rights and supporting “religious freedom” laws allowing LGBTQ discrimination.
He has further been accused of backing “conversion therapy” to “cure” gay people in the past, which he has denied.
Critics are also angered by Trump’s flippant attitude toward LGBTQ lives. “It’s disturbing and sickening that Donald Trump would ‘joke’ about Mike Pence wanting to ‘hang them all’ in reference to LGBTQ people,” commented Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin.
“Hate violence is tragically still a fact of life for LGBTQ people across this country, even without Donald Trump and Mike Pence helping to fan the flames.” Griffin said that, “Pence has spent his career attacking LGBTQ people in Congress, in the governor’s mansion, and now in the White House.”
He added: “Donald Trump’s remark lays open the depth of their hostility and animosity toward LGBTQ people, and just how deeply they believe we should be treated as second-class citizens in our own country. That’s not funny, that’s dangerous and un-American.”
Alyssa Farah, Pence’s representative, has slammed the New Yorker article, telling the Indianapolis Star: “The New Yorker piece is filled with unsubstantiated, unsourced claims that are untrue and offensive.”
The US was one of 13 countries to recently vote against a UN human rights resolution condemning the execution of people on the basis of their sexual orientation.