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Ron DeSantis shooting lightning bolts from his eyes in a screen cap from his latest campaign ad bragging about what a homophobe he is.

Associated Press

NEW YORK — A prominent group represents LGBT conservatives says a video shared by Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign slamming Donald Trump for his past support of gay and transgender people “ventured into homophobic territory.”

They did not say if it was the lightning bolts coming out of DeSantis’ eyes in the video or the interstitial shots of shirtless, oiled-up muscle men that tipped the scales into “homophobic territory,” however.

The “DeSantis War Room” Twitter account shared the video on June 30, the last day of June’s LGBTQ Pride Month. The truly odd video, which looks like it might have been dreamed up by a teenager in their parents’ basement, features footage of Trump speaking at the Republican National Convention in 2016, in the weeks following the mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, saying he would “do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens.’’

The video also highlights ‘‘LGBTQ for Trump’’ T-shirts sold by the former president’s campaign and his past comments saying he would be comfortable with Caitlyn Jenner, the former Olympic decathlete who came out as a transgender woman in 2015, using any bathroom at Trump Tower and that he was OK with transgender women competing one day in the Miss Universe pageant, which Trump owned at the time of those remarks.

The video then suddenly veers in a different direction, accompanied by dark, thumping music and images of DeSantis, the Florida governor who is trailing Trump by wide margins in the polls for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

It promotes headlines that DeSantis signed “the most extreme slate of anti-trans laws in modern history” and a “draconian anti-trans bathroom bill.’’ The images are spliced together with footage of muscular, shirtless men and several Hollywood actors, including Brad Pitt, seen wearing a leather mask from the movie Troy.

“To wrap up ‘Pride Month,’ let’s hear from the politician who did more than any other Republican to celebrate it,’’ the DeSantis campaign tweeted.

The video drew immediate criticism from prominent LGBTQ Republicans, including the Log Cabin Republicans, which bills itself as the nation’s “largest Republican organization dedicated to representing LGBT conservatives.”

“Today’s message from the DeSantis campaign War Room is divisive and desperate. Republicans and other commonsense conservatives know Ron Desantis has alienated swing-state and younger voters,’’ the group said in a tweet, adding that DeSantis’ “extreme rhetoric goes has just ventured into homophobic territory.”

The group said his “rhetoric will lose hard-fought gains in critical races across the nation. This old playbook has been tried in the past and has failed — repeatedly.” The post said DeSantis’ ‘‘naive policy positions are dangerous and politically stupid.”

Jenner accused DeSantis’ campaign of using “horribly divisive tactics,” writing on Twitter, “DeSantis has hit a new low.”

Christina Pushaw, the DeSantis campaign’s rapid response director, said in a tweet Friday night, June 30, that, “Opposing the federal recognition of ‘Pride Month’ isn’t ‘homophobic.’ We wouldn’t support a month to celebrate straight people for sexual orientation, either… It’s unnecessary, divisive, pandering.”

The video comes as Republicans have been wading into increasingly hostile anti-LGBTQ territory, attacking Pride month celebrations, trying to ban displays of rainbow Pride flags and passing legislation to limit drag shows, along with broad attacks on transgender rights.

That rhetoric has seeped into the GOP presidential campaign, taking a prominent role that had been absent during recent past competitive primaries, including in 2016, when Trump, a New York reality TV star, generally presented himself as a supporter of LGBT rights.

A screen cap from Ron DeSantis’ weirdly homoerotic gay-bashing campaign ad.

DeSantis leaned in on anti-LGBTQ legislation as he prepared to jump into the 2024 White House race. He signed legislation banning classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in all grades, banned gender-affirming care for minors, targeted drag shows, restricted discussion of personal pronouns in schools and forced people to use bathrooms that align with the sex assigned at birth.

DeSantis also went after President Joe Biden for prominently displaying the Pride flag at the White House last month.

Trump himself pledged in a speech June 30 that if elected, he would sign executive orders on his first day in office to cut federal money for any school pushing “transgender insanity” and to instruct federal agencies “to cease the promotion of sex or gender transition at any age.” Hospitals and health care providers offering gender-affirming care for minors should be deemed in violation of federal health and safety standards and lose federal funding, he said.

Both Trump and DeSantis have also railed against transgender women participating in women’s sports and have referred to gender-affirming care for minors as “mutilation.’’

At Trump’s rally in Pickens, S.C., on Saturday, July 1, the crowd booed when Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., referenced to Pride month.

“The rainbow belongs to God,” she said.

While such rhetoric appeals to the party’s conservative base, it risks alienating the more moderate and swing voters who generally decide the outcomes of general elections.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

The post DeSantis finally goes too far for gay conservatives who say ad ‘ventured into homophobic territory’ appeared first on Dallas Voice.

DeSantis finally goes too far for gay conservatives who say ad ‘ventured into homophobic territory’ was first posted on July 5, 2023 at 10:12 pm.
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