Words: Will Stroude
Just days after Donald Trump insisted that LGBTQ people "like the job" he's doing in the White House, a press aide for the US President has claimed that the country's gay 'conversion' therapy-supporting, equal marriage-opposing vice president Mike Pence is not in fact "anti-gay".
Why? Well, because he's having lunch with a gay man,don't 'cha know.
Yep, White House deputy press secretary and special assistant to the President Judd Deere caused gay eyes around the globe to lodge permanently in the back of their heads after claiming that Pence can't be "anti-gay" because he and his wife are scheduled to have a work lunch with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his partner, Dr. Matthew Barrett.
For all of you who still think our @VP is anti-gay, I point you to his and the @SecondLady’s schedule tomorrow where they will join Taoiseach @LeoVaradkar and his partner Dr. Matthew Barrett for lunch in Ireland. 🇮🇪 @merrionstreet pic.twitter.com/Cj5kMpln0U— Judd Deere (@JuddPDeere45) September 3, 2019
Taking to Twitter on Tuesday (3 September), Deere - who, tragically, is also gay himself - wrote: "For all of you who still think our @VP is anti-gay, I point you to his and the @SecondLady’s schedule tomorrow where they will join Taoiseach @LeoVaradkar and his partner Dr. Matthew Barrett for lunch in Ireland."
Quick reminder: During his time in Congress, evangelical Christian Pence voted against banning workplace discrimination against LGBTQ people, opposed the 2009 Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act, opposed the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' banning LGBTQ people from serving openly in the military, and once advocated for a constitutional ban on marriage equality in his home state of Indiana.
That's before you even start on the Trump administration's repeated attacks on the community over the last three years, which have included banning transgender people from the miltary, rolling back federal employment protections for LGBTQ people and opposing the Equality Act.
Sharing a starter with a gay man during a work trip though? Welp, guess all is forgiven.
Deere's risible claim was immediately derided by LGBTQ figures including RuPaul's Drag Race star Willam and Queer Eye's Bobby Berk, who replied despairingly, "Are you for real?!"
I can't believe you think this tweet bolsters your case. He was all for conversion therapy!?! C'mon!— Willam (@willam) September 3, 2019
Are you for real?! 🤦🏼♂️— Bobby Berk (@bobbyberk) September 3, 2019
Mr Varadkar, who became Ireland's first openly gay leader following his election in 2017, made headlines earlier this year after making sure his partner Dr. Barrett, a doctor from Dublin, was stood firmly at his side as he met Mike Pence and his wife karen during an official visit to the Vice President's residence.
Pence and Varadkar's gay allies luncheon will take place later on Tuesday (3 September) at Farmleigh House after Pence begins an official visit to Ireland.
A demonstation is set to take place outside the Dáil Éireann (the lower house of the Irish parliament in protest at the visit.