DeSantis’ Anti-LGBTQ Video Backfires, Alienates Conservative Supporters

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By Giselle Balido

July 5, 2023

Some are calling DeSantis’ push to appeal to extreme conservatives as he runs for the White House in 2024 “desperate” and “the last nail in the coffin.”

LGBTQ conservatives are publicly blasting a video shared Friday — the last day of Pride Month — by a Twitter account affiliated with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign. 

The video shows footage of former President Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention in 2016 promising that he would “do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens” after the Pulse shooting in Orlando, Florida, that left 49 people dead. 

In a little over one minute, the production bashes Trump’s modest support for the LGBTQ community while boasting that DeSantis signed “the most extreme slate of anti-trans laws in modern history,” passed a “draconian anti-trans bathroom bill,” and banned sexual orientation and gender identity from being taught in all K-12 schools. These measures went into effect July 1.

A Desperate Push for the White House

But what some are calling DeSantis’ desperate push to appeal to extreme conservatives as he runs for the White House in 2024, appears to have backfired. 

“I used to think he was a great governor. Now, I’m starting to think differently,” said Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), the first non-incumbent gay Republican elected to Congress. After watching Friday’s video, Santos says he feels “used” by DeSantis.

That is because the video is not only virulently anti-LGBTQ, but also boasts a series of headlines that claim DeSantis is “on a crusade” as he is shown laughing maniacally and shooting bolts of lightning out of his eyes. All the while, a tribal, warlike chant is heard on the background. 

RELATED: As Florida Struggles, Republican Majority Hands Conservative Culture Wins to DeSantis

“This was the final nail in the coffin,” said Yvonne Dean-Bailey, a former Republican state legislator from New Hampshire. “At this point, I can’t see myself voting for DeSantis.” 

Scott Presler, co-founder of “Gays for Trump,” publicly questioned the DeSantis campaign’s stance. And the Log Cabin Republicans, the principal LGBTQ+ Republican organization, denounced the ad as “divisive and desperate.” 

Notably, these organizations had previously supported DeSantis’ war on LGBTQ rights. Log Cabin Republicans, for example, participated in anti-drag protests and supported bathroom bans.

For his part, Rep. Santos backed the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation that many conservative members of the LGBTQ community saw as a measure to keep certain so-called “sensitive” topics out of the schools. But now he sees it under a new, more sinister light. 

RELATED: DeSantis Signs Bills Restricting Rights and Freedoms of LGBTQ+ People

“I still stand by the bill in its nature, but now it seems that it had a more perverse agenda behind it,” he said. “His rhetoric is to diminish and remove rights away from people like me, and I can’t support that.”

Trump: ‘The worst President on LGBTQ+ Issues Ever.’

If the alternative to DeSantis is Republican contender Donald Trump, LGBTQ Republicans will find themselves in a quandary. 

It is true that before he ran for president, Trump welcomed the inclusion of transgender women in the Miss Universe pageant. But during his tenure, the former president advanced policies such as banning transgender individuals serving in the military, and nominating Supreme Court justices who have consistently voted in favor of allowing businesses to deny service to LGBTQ+ individuals, as well as the denial of asylum to LGBTQ+ seekers. For this reason, the Human Rights Campaign has labeled Trump “the worst president on LGBTQ+ issues ever.” 

Now, as he looks to secure the 2024 Republican nomination, Trump has pledged that if elected, he would sign executive orders on his first day in office to cut federal money for any school offering “transgender insanity.” He also vowed to instruct federal agencies “to cease the promotion of sex or gender transition at any age.” 

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Author

  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.

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