Donald Trump is expected to attend the Log Cabin Republicans’ annual Spirit of Lincoln dinner, which will be held Saturday at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, as per the Washington Blade. This will be the first appearance by a former president at one of the group’s events.
Log Cabin, a right-wing organization comprised of LGBTQ+ conservatives, refused to confirm the report, which was based on “two insiders familiar with his plans,” according to the Blade. Melania Trump, his wife, is expected to receive the Spirit of Lincoln Award and speak at the event, where she will be the honored guest.
“Mrs. Trump will be the only member of the family speaking and scheduled to attend the Spirit of Lincoln Gala,” Log Cabin Managing Director Charles Moran told the Blade. As to whether that was a denial that Donald Trump would be present, Moran said, “I’m just telling you what I know.”
Log Cabin has frequently attempted to portray Donald Trump as an ally of the LGBTQ+ community, but he and his administration have taken numerous actions against LGBTQ+ people, including the transgender military ban, revoking guidelines on the proper treatment of transgender youth in schools, opposition to anti-discrimination protections, promotion of discrimination freedom under the guise of religious liberty, the appointment of anti-LGBTQ+ judges and cabinet members, and more.
The group has justified Trump on the basis of two actions: naming a gay man, Richard Grenell, as ambassador to Germany and later acting director of national intelligence, and a worldwide campaign, led by Grenell, to decriminalize homosexuality, though it’s unclear what that effort entailed. Log Cabin supports Trump for reelection in 2020 but did not support him in 2016, though it did urge supporters not to vote for his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Grenell will receive the Game Changer Award at the Spirit of Lincoln event “for both his visible role in the Trump Administration as the first openly gay man to serve in a cabinet-level position and his subsequent advocacy for the Log Cabin Republicans,” says a Log Cabin press release. Grenell became a senior adviser to the American Center for Law and Justice after leaving the administration.
The American Center for Law and Justice is a legal organization founded by Pat Robertson that has a history of opposing LGBTQ+ equality, though its current work appears to focus more on opposition to abortion rights and the promotion of gun rights.
U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart, a Utah Republican who has proposed the Fairness for All Act, will also be honored at the dinner. The Fairness for All Act, like the pending Equality Act, an LGBTQ+ rights bill opposed by the majority of Republicans, would prohibit discrimination in many aspects of life, although it would allow for more religious exemptions than the Equality Act. Stewart first introduced it in 2019 and has since reintroduced it. He will be honored with the Congressional Champion Award. The Majority Maker Award will be presented to Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee.
In announcing the award to Melania Trump in a September press release, Moran said, “Melania Trump’s work as First Lady, from helping children reach their full potential to championing a more inclusive Republican Party, has been historic. Her vocal support of Log Cabin Republicans has been a signal to Republicans everywhere that it is possible to simultaneously be conservative and support equality under the law for all Americans.”
According to the Blade, prominent Republicans who have previously attended the Spirit of Lincoln dinner include former tech executive and onetime presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, and Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.