According to The Bulwark, Donald Trump is to blame for a primary challenge against an incumbent Republican congressman who officiated at a same sex wedding. But it does not make sense to label this “another lesson in Trump-era GOP cruelty,” because that does not match Trump’s unique position in the party. It certainly does not match up with the political history of the Republican Party.
It makes no sense to blame Donald Trump for this “cruelty,” because he is by far the most pro-LGBT Republican President ever. Back in 1999, Trump supported civil unions, which provides many of the same legal benefits as marriage and would have been unthinkable for a Republican at the time. Trump won the Republican party nomination seventeen years later despite this stance. The Bulwark knows better than this.
The fact that Trump is the most pro-LGBT Republican President ever is not debatable. He promised to be a friend to LGBT in 2016 and announced sanctions on nations that criminalize homosexuality (including Iran, which executes homosexuals) in 2019. Trump also held up a rainbow flag at a 2016 campaign event, which would have been unthinkable for a Republican candidate for President before Trump did it.
Trump named the first openly homosexual person to a cabinet-level position. No it was not Bill Clinton or Barack Obama who did that, despite pressure to do so within their party. It was Donald Trump, who risked backlash from his strongest supporters.
Furthermore, blaming Trump for this ignores the last 40 years of political history and the strength of conservative Christians in the Republican coalition. The GOP has never supported the policy agenda of the LGBT lobby. Any Republican who performed a same-sex wedding would have been thrown out in a primary well before Trump ever ran for office as a Republican. Had Trump lost in the 2016 primary and we had a different Republican in the White House, the primary challenge still would have happened.
Look, there are many reasons to criticize Donald Trump, but this is not one of them. Blaming Trump for this is putting the “Orange Man Bad” meme on top of anything that happens in the Republican Party that you do not like. If you want to argue that a challenge to Denver Riggleman was a bad idea or even cruel, then go ahead and make that argument. But pretending this is somehow unique to Donald Trump is totally absurd.