Here is @IvankaTrump posing at tonight’s evangelical dinner with a man who has quite literally claimed marriage equality is a satanic plot to destroy the image of God. https://t.co/iiJjoshAOy pic.twitter.com/HJepM8hTE1— Jeremy Hooper (@goodasyou) August 28, 2018
President Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, who is also an official adviser, was billed during the 2016 campaign as a level-headed individual who would counter her father’s ill-mannered behavior. In the past she’s also promised to be an allied-voice for the LGBT community while serving in the administration.
Those descriptors were thrown into question, however, after an evangelical Christian event that was held at the White House on Monday evening. Trump posed for the camera next to several individuals who wanted their photo taken with her — including smiling gleefully next to a pastor who has in the past described the fight for marriage equality as a plot being carried out by Satan.
“If I were Satan, I would want to destroy on the Earth the image of God,” Pastor Jim Garlow, who serves as senior pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, said at the Family Leadership Forum last year. “This is why marriage is such a hotbed issue. It's more than just the issue of homosexuality. It's much more than that. It's much more cosmic. It's big, it's enormous.”
Garlow didn’t stop there. Gay and lesbian couples “want to destroy the very image of God upon the planet,” he said, adding, “This is a demonic happening in our midst.”
In 2011, Garlow expressed his bigotry in another way: by comparing children of 9/11 victims to children of gay and lesbian parents.
“Our president [then Barack Obama] gave a speech a few days ago in which he said, ‘The tragedy of 9/11 was that it robbed so many children of having a mommy or a daddy,’” Garlow said.
He continued: “Well, you know something Mr. President, your failure to defend marriage and to redefine marriage means that everybody who is under that redefined marriage will lack either a mommy or a daddy, and that is morally wrong.”
On Monday evening, Garlow was present at the White House event for evangelical leaders. And the president’s daughter happily posed next to him, smiling in the picture that was taken.
Saying that same-sex marriage is a “demonic happening,” or comparing LGBT parents to the effects of terrorism, is not just outrageous, but also deeply offensive. Garlow has the right to espouse his views, of course, but the White House should not be granting him audience with the president or his adviser-daughter. Doing so seems to give the impression that the Trump family endorses his views.
The decision to pose with Garlow should have been avoided on two fronts: Ivanka Trump should never have agreed to have her picture taken with such a bigot, and President Donald Trump should never have allowed an individual who holds such viewpoints to be part of a White House event.
That he welcomed such individuals so warmly into his home provides more evidence of the president’s own bigotry. We should also erase all previously held notions that his daughter, being willing to pose with bigots like Garlow, would be a friend to and advocate for the LGBT community in the White House.
Banner/thumbnail image credit: Carlos Barria/Reuters