The Agenda

Victory candidates protest Trump and Rubio meeting in Orlando

Above: Florida House District 49 candidate Carlos Guillermo Smith rallies anti-Trump protesters in Orlando.
Despite promises by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio to help the LGBTQ community heal in the wake of the Pulse night club massacre in Orlando, he has joined Donald Trump and a slew of anti-LGBTQ speakers for a meeting just miles from Pulse and on the two-month anniversary of the shooting.
One of those speakers, Mat Staver, has called the memorials to Pulse victims “homosexual love fests.” Another, David Lane, has said: “Secular, fringe-extremists have become so infatuated with idol worship that they have lost all sense of restraint, with the goals of pushing transgender bathrooms, turning straight men gay and heterosexual women into lesbians.”
Victory candidates Beth Tuura, Bob Poe and Carlos Guillermo Smith joined more than 100 others yesterday to protest the meeting. Victims of the shooting, Latino leaders and clergy members decried the attendance of Trump and Rubio, and argued it condones anti-LGBTQ rhetoric in a city whose LGBTQ community has faced tremendous violence.
Terry DeCarlo, executive director of The Center, Orlando’s LGBTQ community center, shared the protestors’ sentiments: “People are very, very upset. This is a man [Rubio] who, two days after the Pulse massacre, came to shake my hand, and said, ‘We stand with you.’ And now he’s sitting in a convention center talking against us. He did not mean a word of it.”
The Victory endorsed candidates attended to show solidarity with their community. In contrast with Rubio, it was a stark reminder of the importance of LGBTQ representation in elected office. Throughout this election cycle, Victory candidates across the country have called on their opponents to denounce Trump’s hateful rhetoric. This includes: Denise Juneau, running for Montana’s at-large US House seat, Matt Heinz, candidate for US House AZ-02, and Jim Gray, who is running against Senator Rand Paul in Kentucky. 

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