| Celebs, Rights Groups Appalled By Trump’s Reported Quip That Pence Wants To Hang Gays

February 15, 2018

A growing number of celebrities, activists and tweeting voters expressed astonishment Monday over a report that President Donald Trump appeared to joke about Vice President Mike Pence’s stance on gays, saying he wanted to “hang them all.”

“What the fuck,” Josh Groban tweeted, getting right to the point.

According to a New Yorker profile on Pence published Monday, when an unnamed “legal scholar” began to discuss gay rights with Trump, the president gestured toward Pence and responded: “Don’t ask that guy — he wants to hang them all!” The article, “The Danger of a Pence Presidency,” addressed Pence’s religion and religion-based political positions and Trump’s frequent mockery of them. But former White House strategist Steve Bannon is also quoted as saying that “Trump thinks Pence is great.”

George Takei tweeted: “Not sure what’s more disturbing, that Donald would joke about such a thing or that he would pick a man with these views as his number 2.”

Chelsea Clinton noted that the president needs to be reminded that it’s never OK to joke about murdering people. The LGBTQ community is a particular target of hate crimes. At a Justice Department meeting on hate crimes in June, Attorney General Jeff Sessions addressed an alarming “spate of murders … around the country of transgendered individuals.” 

The Advocate asked its readers: “Still think he’s an ally? Trump joked about gays being hanged from nooses.” The National Center for Lesbian Rights responded, over and over, in a tweet: “This is not normal.” 

Neither Pence nor Trump have responded directly to the report. But Pence’s press secretary, Alyssa Farah, has said in statements to the media that the New Yorker article is “filled with unsubstantiated, unsourced claims that are untrue and offensive.” She said the piece is the reason “people have lost so much faith in the press.”

Still to weigh in on the controversy: Republican politicians.

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