Donald Trump once joked that his Vice President wanted to hang all gay people, a report has claimed.
Mr Trump repeatedly chided Vice President Mike Pence for his religious views during a meeting with a legal scholar, according to the New Yorker’s Jane Meyer. During a discussion about LGBTQ rights, the President motioned to Mr Pence and said: “Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!”
Mr Pence is known for his religious conservatism, which makes him highly popular with the GOP’s Christian base. But it has reportedly caused friction with the less-devout Mr Trump, who has spoken at conservative Christian conferences but does not attend church regularly.
At the same meeting, the group reportedly spoke about Roe v Wade – the Supreme Court decision legalising abortion across the United States. The legal scholar argued that attempts to overturn the decision were pointless, as states would simply legalise abortion on their own.
“You see?” Mr Trump asked his Vice President. “You’ve wasted all this time and energy on it, and it’s not going to end abortion anyway.”
At other times, Ms Meyer reports, Mr Trump would snidely ask campaign staffers if Mr Pence had made them pray with him.
Mr Pence does, in fact, invite staffers to pray with him – at weekly prayer meetings. The Vice President sponsors regular meetings on Capitol Hill with Ralph Drollinger, the founder of Capitol Ministries. Mr Drollinger has previously suggested that women who have children should not serve as politicians, and has called homosexuality an “abomination in the eyes of God”.
Mr Pence has his own, controversial history with LGBTQ rights. As a Representative for Indiana, he voted “no” on a bill banning discrimination against people based on sexual discrimination. He also voted against the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” a law preventing gay people from serving openly in the military.
Mr Pence has also been accused of supporting conversion therapy – a discredited form of treatment that seeks to turn gay people straight – after suggesting state money should be “directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behaviour”.
Mr Trump, despite his wisecracks, has also made several controversial decisions regarding the LGBTQ community. In February, his administration rolled back Obama-era protections for transgender students. In August, he announced a ban on transgender people serving in the military.
Just last week, Mr Trump spoke at the Values Voter Summit for conservative Christians. Before he spoke, attendees were given pamphlets calling homosexuality a “public health crisis”.