CNN’s Avlon Hits Trump on Gay Rights: ‘To Credibly Be Called Leader of the Free World, You Have to Actually Stand up for Freedom’
AVLON: "Now, just hearing a Republican nominee say LGBTQ, however haltingly, was a sign of progress, even if Trump framed his outreach against the backdrop of the ISIS-inspired attack on the Pulse nightclub in Chicago (sic). But that promise faded fast. For example, Trump abruptly moved to reinstate a ban on transgender people openly serving in the military against the advice of his own Pentagon. He rolled back protections for trans kids in public schools, nominated federal judges that critics say are unfriendly to gay rights, and sided against LBGT groups in various court cases like employment and non-discrimination. And now, this latest move against the partners of gay diplomats. As in so many other cases, the Trump administration's stated purpose seems innocuous. Gay marriage is allowed in the United States, so why allow same-sex partners when unmarried heterosexual partners are not allowed in the country? But that ignores what it would do to diplomats from the many countries that do not recognize gay marriage or, much worse, still criminalize being gay. Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power called the move, quote, 'needlessly cruel and bigoted,' pointing out that only 12 percent of U.N. member states allow same-sex marriage. Our number has that at less than 10 percent. But this move is just the latest restriction on foreigners coming into our country. Case in point, yesterday it was revealed that the United States admitted the lowest number of refugees to our country in 40 years, just 22,000. That's about one-quarter the number admitted in 2016. And if that doesn't move you, try this. The number of special immigrant visas issued to Iraqi and Afghani citizens -- folks who risk their lives working with U.S. forces -- has been slashed under the Trump administration from 3,000 in 2017 to just 51, according to Reuters. America is and has always been a nation of immigrants, as John F. Kennedy reminded us. The welcoming symbol of the Statue of Liberty reaching out to the tired, poor, huddled masses, yearning to breathe free. That's our calling card to the world. But that goodwill -- the essence of American exceptionalism -- is showing signs of eroding. A troubling new Pew research survey shows that the global image of the United States has plummeted to historic lows since Trump took office and the world has less confidence in President Trump to do the right thing than autocrats, like China's President Xi and Russia's Vladimir Putin. It's a reminder that to credibly be called leader of the free world you have to actually stand up for freedom. And that's your 'Reality Check.'"