President Donald Trump’s new acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has a history of anti-LGBT legislation and statements, including saying that encouraging countries to drop homophobic policies is “religious persecution.”
Mulvaney, who will become Trump’s third chief of staff in less than two years when he replaces General John Kelly in January, has also co-sponsored bills to ban same-sex marriage and allow anti-LGBT discrimination on the basis of religion.
In July, at the State Department’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, he lashed out at President Barack Obama’s government because “our US taxpayer dollars [were] used to discourage Christian values in other democratic countries.”
“That’s a different type of religious persecution.”
— Mick Mulvaney about opposing anti-LGBT policies
“It was stunning to me that my government under the previous administration would go to folks in sub-Saharan Africa and say… ‘We know you have a law against gay marriage, but if you enforce that law, we’re not going to give you any money,’” continued the 51-year-old.
“That’s a different type of religious persecution… That is a different type of religious persecution that I never expected to see.”
As director of the Office of Management and Budget, a role he’s held since February 2017, Mulvaney released a budget for the 2019 fiscal year which included cuts to domestic HIV/AIDS programmes and slashed $1 billion from global HIV programmes.
Human Rights Campaign (HRC)’s government affairs director David Stacy said at the time that the budget showed “a callous disregard for critical programmes that impact LGBTQ Americans” and created “a direct threat to the safety and well-being of LGBTQ people here and around the world.”
During his time in state government, he co-sponsored a law which banned same-sex marriage in South Carolina.
He also told lawmakers that the state government should stop “advertising South Carolina to gay tourists in Europe” before winning election to the House of Representatives in 2010.
The former South Carolina lawmaker scored zero on HRC’s Congressional Scorecardfor all three of his terms in the House, unwaveringly opposing LGBT+ rights.
It was while he was a congressman that he urged President Obama to enforce the Defence of Marriage Act, a federal law which defined marriage as being between a man and a woman, and which was eventually ruled unconstitutional.
Mulvaney also signed a letter questioning the Obama administration’s transgender guidance which allowed students to use their chosen facilities.
The letter criticised the guidance, which was revoked by the Trump administration just weeks into the president’s term, for forcing schools to “disregard the privacy, ‘discomfort,’ and emotional strain imposed on other students during use of bathroom, showering, and changing facilities.”
During a debate with Democrat Fran Person in 2016, Mulvaney said that he was supporting Trump in the upcoming presidential election despite thinking he was “a terrible human being,” The Daily Beast has reported.