Donald Trump attacked LGTBQ+ people during his speech from the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday, claiming that “left-wing zealots” were encouraging drag shows in schools and unfair competition between women and trans-female athletes.
“School prayer is banned, but drag shows are allowed all over the place,” Mr Trump complained.
“You can’t teach the Bible, but you can teach children that America is evil and that men can get pregnant,” he said.
The President also briefly welcomed Riley Gaines, a former University of Kentucky swimmer who criticized University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, who is trans, for competing in the women’s division.
“We will keep men out of women’s sports,” Mr Trump said in his speech, echoing transgender athletes such as Ms Thomas.
On stage, Ms. Gaines claimed that it “takes brains, common sense and fifth grade to understand that this is unfair.”
The swimmer has previously said she felt “very uncomfortable” competing and sharing facilities with Mr Thomas, which amounted to sexual assault in an interview with the Christian Post in July.
Mr. Trump has folded his attacks on LGTBQ+ people into a larger critique of what he sees as a left-wing takeover of education policy that also includes critical race theory, an academic concept never taught in public schools below the university level.
However, Mr. Trump said, “If federal bureaucrats are going to push this radicalism, we should eliminate the Department of Education,” which drew loud applause.
Elsewhere, Mr Trump’s CPAC remarks from Dallas affected Democrats such as Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.
“I’m going to go down and campaign against him as hard as anybody,” Mr Trump said of Mr Manchin, eliciting one of his biggest rounds of applause of the night .
The former president also claimed that Mr Manchin, who was not up for election until 2025, had promised not to vote against him during the impeachment process.
“I would never vote against you, you’re a great president,” Mr Trump told the senator.
Mr. Manchin voted against Mr. Trump during both of his impeachments.
The Independent contacted Mr. Manchin for comment.
Mr. Trump also went after another moderate seen as a potential obstacle to the Democratic social spending package, Kyrsten Sinema. In his speech, he hinted that he might attack her in her home state as well.
“What happened to Manchin and Sinema?” Mr. Trump said. “What happened? We’re trying to figure out what the hell happened. Where did this new philosophy suddenly come from?”
The Independent has reached out to the Arizona senator for comment.