Since the Orlando massacre, Donald Trump has been shamelessly exploiting the deaths, grief and outrage to further his own political interests.
Shortly after the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Donald Trump took to Twitter to condemn the tragedy and, predictably, cash in on it by calling for President Barack Obama’s resignation as well as reiterating his proposal to ban Muslims from coming to the United States.
The presumptive Republican nominee further capitalized on the tragedy in a national security speech in New Hampshire, which had more to do with his political rivalry with Hillary Clinton, anti-immigration stance and Islamophobia, than the intent to comfort the victims and families of the shooting.
“Hillary Clinton can never claim to be a friend of the gay community as long as she continues to support immigration policies that bring Islamic extremists to our country who suppress women, gays and anyone who doesn’t share their views,” Trump stated in his address, before calling himself the "real friend" of the gay community.
Is he really?
Not at all, according to Chad Griffin, president of Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, who called out the loud-mouthed mogul over his transparent exploitation of the United States’ worst mass shooting in a tweet.
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Although Trump is known to have had friendly relations with the gay community, his inconsistent views on same-sex marriages have remained a point of scrutiny and criticism.
For instance, in 2013, he went on the record on Howard Stern’s Sirius XM show on and said marriage equality was not his thing.
“Donald, go on the record,” said Stern. “You’re for gay marriage.”
“Well, I’m not,” Trump responded. “It’s never been an argument that’s been discussed with me very much. People know that it’s not my thing one way or the other.”
In January, he said he would “strongly consider” appointing judges who would overrule the Supreme Court’s June decision that made same-sex marriage across the nation.
Just a few days before the Orlando shooting, Trump assured evangelical voters during Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference that “he’s with them against gay marriage,” according to Huffington Post’s senior politics editor Sam Stein.
Over the course of his nearly year-long campaign, he has berated and alienated almost every group, be it Hispanics, Muslims, women, Asians or African-Americans. But he has avoided targeting the LGBTQ community while carefully not saying outright supportive of them as well — which proves that he is not as “real” a friend as he claims to be.
Then there’s the issue of Trump’s band of loyal, homophobic supporters. The most prominent name in this list would be former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson, who once compared homosexuality to bestiality and pedophilia and has stood by his words.
In January, Trump released an ad to tout official endorsement by Jerry Falwell Jr., the son of Evangelical pastor Jerry Fallwell and president of Liberty University and a leader among anti-LGBT social conservatives.
So, when Trump claims he is a “real friend” of the gay community, he lies — just like he has lied about not knowing white supremacist David Duke, his support for invading Iraq and a lot of other stuff.
In the aftermath of the Orlando massacre, he is only doing what he does best, exploiting a tragedy for political gain.
And that’s pathetic.