Donald Trump attacked LGTBQ+ people during his speech from the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday, claiming that “left wing lunatics” were encouraging drag shows in schools and unfair competition between women and transwomen athletes.
“School prayer is banned, but drag shows are allowed to permeate the whole place,” Mr Trump complained.
“You can’t teach the Bible, but you can teach children that america is evil and that men are able to get pregnant,” he continued.
The president also briefly welcomed Riley Gaines, a former University of Kentucky swimmer who has been critical of University Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, who is trans, for competing in the women’s division.
“We will keep men out of women’s sports,” Mr Trump said in his speech, misgendering trans athletes like Ms Thomas.
Onstage, Ms Gaines claimed it “takes a brain, common sense, and fifth grade biology-level understanding to realise this is blatantly unfair.”
The swimmer has previously said she felt “extreme discomfort” about competing and sharing facilities with Ms Thomas, equating it to sexual assault in an interview with The Christian Post in July.
Mr Trump looped his attacks on LGTBQ+ people into a larger critique of what he sees as a left-wing takeover of education policy that also includes criticial race theory, an academic concept that is almost never taught in public schools below the university level.
Nonetheless, Mr Trump said, “If federal bureacrats are going to push this radicalism, we should abolish the Department of Education,” triggering a huge round of applause.
Elsewhere Mr Trump’s CPAC remarks from Dallas tore into Democrats like Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.
“I’ll go down and campaign against him as hard as anybody can,” Mr Trump said of Mr Manchin, eliciting one of his biggest rounds of applause of the night.
The former president also claimed Mr Manchin, who isn’t up for reelection until 2025, promised not to vote against him during the impeachment process.
“I would never vote against you, you’re a great president,” Mr Trump recounted the senator saying.
Mr Manchin voted against Mr Trump during both of his impeachments.
The Independent has contacted Mr Manchin for comment.
Mr Trump also went after another moderate who had been seen as a potential obstacle to the Democratic social spending package, Kyrsten Sinema. In his speech, he implied he might attack her in her home state as well.
“What happened to Manchin and Sinema?” Mr Trump said. “What happened? We’re trying to figure out what the hell happened. Where did this new philosophy come from all of a sudden?”
The Independent contacted the Arizona Senator for comment.