Log Cabin Republicans, the LGBT GOP group, will host its 40th anniversary dinner at President Trump’s Washington, DC, hotel.
The decision was made in March, months before Trump’s anti-transgender tweets regarding military service, and was made because the original venue was unable to fit the group in on their desired dates, Log Cabin President Gregory Angelo told TheWrap. He said “the Trump Hotel gave us a very competitive deal.”
Angelo added that there was some discussion following the tweeted military ban about changing the venue, but “with barely a month until the event and every prime hotel booked, a change of venue would be impractical.”
The choice to have the event at the Trump hotel was criticized by some on Twitter, with users calling it “disgraceful” and “stabbing the backs of gay people everywhere.”
Angelo said those accusations are unfounded given the circumstances.
“We are not making a point of showcasing the venue, and we were never going to,” he told TheWrap. “If this event was promoted as ‘A Celebration of Trump’ or featured him as a speaker, criticism of Log Cabin Republicans would be more than warranted, but that’s not the reality.”
Log Cabin’s — which did not endorse Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign — decision to stay at the venue comes days after reports of other organizations removing events from Trump properties. The New York Times reported that the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach, Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society, American Cancer Society, the Cleveland Clinic, American Friends of Magen David Adom, American Red Cross, Salvation Army and Susan G. Komen also cancelled events scheduled to be held at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Those moves come following remarks the president made about white supremacist rallies and counter-protests held earlier this month in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The Log Cabin dinner also serves as a fundraiser for its political action committee, which Angelo told Georgia Voice had its agenda centered on midterm elections.
“The agenda this year and next year is no different than n previous election cycles: protect and ensure the re-election of incumbent allies in the House and Senate and support pro-LGBT Republicans who have a path to victory,” he said.
Former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina is the guest speaker. Angelo said Log Cabin has a history of interacting with her in the past, including in panel discussions on national security and human rights offenses against gay men in Russia.
“Folks should be aware that Ms. Fiorina has a history of standing up for the LGBT community before it was standard practice in corporate America,” Angelo said. “When she was CEO of Hewlett-Packard, she recognized domestic partner benefits at a time when civil unions were barely recognized in this country.”
He added that Fiorina also supports both religious liberty and marriage equality, and said one of his goals as Log Cabin president has been to feature keynote addresses from “new allies and people who might not have had an opportunity to speak before a group of LGBT advocates in the past.”
In addition to donors and Log Cabin members, invitations were sent out to every Republican elected official in the House and Senate, including Georgia’s GOP representatives and senators. As Congress is in recess, Angelo expects to begin receiving responses back around Labor Day, but hopes at last one of the Peach State congressmen and women will attend.