PHILADELPHIA ― California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom took on the Republican Party’s anti-LGBT hypocrisy Wednesday during remarks at the Democratic National Convention, arguing that featuring an openly gay speaker doesn’t erase GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence’s anti-LGBT record.
Newsom, in an address at the Wells Fargo Center, focused on GOP nominee Donald Trump and his party, which Newsom argued has “moved its fearmongering fringe to center stage.” He noted that it was admirable that the GOP featured a gay speaker at last week’s party convention in Cleveland ― Trump advocate and PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel. But it’s not enough to convince anyone that the party has changed its stance on LGBT rights, he said.
“While it was refreshing to finally see an openly gay man speak at a Republican convention, it doesn’t remove the stain of selecting Mike Pence, America’s most anti-LGBT governor,” Newsom said.
He criticized Pence’s support for gay conversion therapy, which Newsom described as “fundamentally un-American.”
“Make no mistake, conversion therapy is not about ‘praying away the gay,’” said Newsom. “It’s an emotional torture against our most innocent citizens: our children.”
Newsom came to national prominence in 2004, when, as mayor of San Francisco, he directed city clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He’s remained a fierce advocate of LGBT rights, and spent much of the GOP convention tweeting about the Republican Party’s anti-gay, anti-trans policies.
Newsom, who plans to run for California governor in 2018, also took on Trump’s deeply pessimistic acceptance speech at last week’s RNC.
“It wasn’t political discourse, it wasn’t even politically correct. What Trump represented was defeatist and retreatist,” Newsom said. “Never has a speech been so long with so little substance, so little science, so little humanity, humor, or so little hope.”
He continued: “His hostile takeover of the American dream is built on two fundamental lies: that America is a dark and desperate place, and that he has the kind of plan to make it better.”
Newsom’s speech drew loud cheers from the California delegation.
“He’s very unifying, he’s very positive,” said Bobbi Singh-Allen, a California delegate from Elk Grove. “It showed a stark contrast with Donald Trump and what that kind of ugly presidency could look like.”