Democratic presidential candidate and former vice president Joe Biden on Saturday accused President Donald Trump’s administration of endangering the LGBTQ community by failing to defend LGBTQ individuals’ rights and safety.
In a speech to the Human Rights Campaign on the first day of Pride Month, Biden described the difficulties still faced by many transgender people, including lack of access to health care and social services, as well as transphobic violence that he said was enabled by the Trump administration.
“We’ve already had five, just this year, five black transgender women killed violently in 2019 – that’s outrageous. It must, it must, it must end,” Biden said as the supportive crowd broke into applause.
Biden argued that the Trump administration was at odds with the notion of America as a beacon of decency and stood “on the wrong side of history.”
Biden called America, “an idea that we are about providing everybody who is here and accessed here with dignity and respect.”
He also went after Trump’s immigration policies and Vice President Mike Pence’s stance on LGBTQ issues as “wrong” and “immoral.”
“This President, this White House has literally, literally a bully pulpit, is callously extending his power over the most vulnerable – implementing the most discriminatory policies like Muslim bans, turning away asylum seekers, putting children in cages,” Biden said.
“And the current vice president uses religious freedom as an excuse to license discrimination,” he continued. “It’s wrong and it is immoral what they’re doing.”
Trump expressed support for the LGBTQ community in a tweet Friday.
“As we celebrate LGBT Pride Month and recognize the outstanding contributions LGBT people have made to our great Nation, let us also stand in solidarity with the many LGBT people who live in dozens of countries worldwide that punish, imprison, or even execute individuals…on the basis of their sexual orientation,” he tweeted.
“My Administration has launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality and invite all nations to join us in this effort!” he added.
In his tweets announcing the transgender ban in 2017, Trump stated that having transgender service members in the armed forces would cause “tremendous medical costs and disruption” that he implied would detract from the military’s mission.
“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow….Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” he said in a series of tweets. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming…….victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”
CNN’s Paul LeBlanc contributed to this report