Angry their national organization refused to endorse Donald Trump for president, LGBTQ Log Cabin Republicans of Miami on Monday announced their full support for the 2016 GOP nominee.
“It’s huge,” Miami chapter president Vincent Foster told the Miami Herald. “A lot of our membership was upset. We were ready to risk everything and go our separate way to support our most supportive Republican presidential candidate for the LGBT community.”
On Oct. 22, the national LCR organization issued a “statement” about Trump, calling him “perhaps the most pro-LGBT presidential nominee in the history of the Republican Party.”
The Washington, D.C.-based group then declined to endorse him: “As Mr. Trump spoke positively about the LGBT community in the United States, he concurrently surrounded himself with senior advisors with a record of opposing LGBT equality.”
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“You can say the LCR national’s decision was a big surprise to me and the rest of the members of our chapter,” Foster said.
On Oct. 26, 20 members of the Miami LCR chapter met in a Coral Gables office and unanimously voted to endorse Trump.
“Our chapter has had a long-standing relationship with Mr. Trump’s campaign,” Foster said. “Their campaign reached out to me months ago as president of LCR to see how we can coordinate. They also attended and sat at our table for the Republican Party Lincoln Day dinner. They’ve been nothing but supportive of all of the Miami chapter of Log Cabin Republicans.”
One hitch though: LCR in Washington usually doesn’t allow local chapters to contradict national endorsement decisions.
“LCR Miami spearheaded conversations with D.C. about individual chapter endorsements at the federal level,” Foster said. “They’re allowing every chapter of Log Cabin Republicans to endorse or not endorse this election year for president.”
Gregory T. Angelo, national president of Log Cabin Republicans, explained the one-time change in policy: “This is not exactly the norm for LCR, but considering the very intense feelings about this election among our members and the misinterpretation of some that withholding the endorsement of Donald Trump means that we oppose him, which we are not.”
In addition to the Miami chapter, Log Cabin Republicans in Cleveland, Los Angeles, Orange County, Texas and Georgia also endorsed Trump, Angelo said.
At a University of Northern Colorado campaign rally on Saturday, someone handed Trump a rainbow flag that read “LGBTs for Trump.” He then posed for photos holding the flag.
“What other Republican presidential candidate would be photographed with a rainbow flag? What other Republican candidate would openly support the LGBT community at the RNC?” Foster said.
Local Log Cabin Republicans are “actively phone banking and working on the campaign trail for Donald Trump,” he said. “We may not agree with Trump on every issue, but LCR of Miami is committed to defeating Hillary Clinton and supporting the Republican candidate who is going to protect the safety and security of the LGBT community. Hillary Clinton will only put our safety at risk.”
Foster added: “The LGBT community is not a monolithic or a one-issue community. American security and safety is No. 1 for us. We are Americans and Republicans — and we are gay.”