Trump hands senior role to Republican lawmaker who opposes ‘homosexuals in politics’

LGBT activists have called for the Senate to block the appointment of a senior official who opposes the existence of gay politicians.

An influential Senate committee will this week decide whether to confirm the nomination of Scott Garrett as President of the Export-Import Bank.

Scott Garrett is a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives who crashed in his 2016 re-election campaign after a contentious battle over homophobic remarks.

Garrett had refused to pay his dues to the National Republican Congressional Committee, explaining in a GOP congressional meeting that he would boycott the national committee because it had supported gay candidates.

Garrett took issuse with the GOP body because it had “actively recruited gay candidates and supported homosexuals in primaries”.

His remarks lost him a string of his largest big-business donors, with Goldman Sachs among the Wall Street giants to end their support for Garrett in the wake of the homophobia row.

Without the support of big-budget donors, Garrett was unseated by Democrat Josh Gottheimer, who took 50.5% of the vote to Garrett’s 47.2%.

However, Garrett has been saved from electoral oblivion by President Trump, who has rewarded his homophobia by handing him a cushy job heading the Export-Import Bank.

Garrett previously called for the federal agency to be abolished.

Today, the Human Rights Campaign announced its opposition to Garrett’s nomination.

David Stacy, HRC Government Affairs Director, said: “Scott Garrett is not qualified to be the President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

“It makes no sense to appoint someone to lead an institution he does not believe should exist.

“Among many House Members with anti-LGBTQ records, Scott Garrett managed to stand out for his extreme positions on the inclusion of LGBTQ people in our country.

“The Trump-Pence administration continues to dispatch anti-LGBTQ officials to all levels of government and Garrett is simply another disgraceful agent in their crusade against equality. We urge the Senate to reject his nomination.”

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Scott Garrett served seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, and earned a score of zero in HRC’s Congressional Scorecard.

During his time in Congress, Garrett voted against hate crimes protections for LGBTQ people, against the repeal of the discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy, refused to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and he twice voted in favour of writing discrimination into the U.S. Constitution by banning marriage equality.

It is not the first time Trump has nominated an overt homophobe.

The President nominated Tennessee Senator Mark Green as Army Secretary – attempting to replace Eric Fanning, the first openly gay man to hold the post.

Green’s anti-LGBTQ record included saying that being trans is a “disease” and equating trans people to rapists and paedophiles.

He has also encouraged the state of Tennessee to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples, called Obama’s guidance protecting trans students an example of “tyrannical government” and authored a bill which would grant businesses unlimited rights to discriminate without being censured.

Green withdrew his name from contention after being humiliated publicly over his record.