Sunday, February 26, 2023

Not Homophobia (Gayphobia?)

I like Aaron Rupar and Donald Trump Jr. is reprehensible. But Rupar is simply wrong here.

A "phobia" is a fear and there is no indication that Donald Trump Jr. fears gay people. Presumably, Rupar simply means that Junior's tweet reflects hostility toward homosexuals. (The term is "homophobia," not "gayphobia.") 

On December 3, 2020 President-elect Biden

said he had a meeting scheduled with the NAACP on Tuesday. NAACP President Derrick Johnson told CNN Wednesday that his organization and other civil rights groups had requested time with Biden and Harris to discuss the incoming administration and ensuring minority and civil rights representation in their agenda.

“Their job is to push me,” Biden said, noting every advocacy group is “pushing for more and more and more of what they want. That’s their job.”

“My job is to keep my commitment to make the decisions,” Biden said. “And when it’s all over people will take a look and say, I promise you, you’ll see the most diverse Cabinet representative of all folks, Asian Americans, African Americans, Latinos, LGBTQ, across the board.”

As of that date, he had made four nominations to his cabinet. They were a black woman as UN Ambassador; a Cuban-American to be the Secretary of Homeland Security; a South Asian as director of the Office of Management and Budget; and a black woman to be chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisors.  The diversity, as Biden's statement suggested, was not coincidental.

After the former vice president's pivotal victory in the South Carolina primary, Buttigieg withdrew from the presidential race, after which Amy Klobuchar did the same. Klobuchar then endorsed Biden and within hours Buttigieg had done so, also.

To be sure, when Biden announced the nomination of Buttigieg twelve days after boasting there would be a Cabinet of Asian Americans, African Americans, Latinos, LGBTQ, across the board," he did not cite the sexual preference of the former mayor and presidential candidate, Instead, he described him as "a patriot and a problem solver."  Buttigieg is indeed a patriot. However, he had never established himself as a problem solver and clearly has not done so as transportation secretary, ineffectually responding to deceptive practices and flight cancellations of airlines and insufficiently regulating railroad safety procedures.

He did, however, offer something Klobuchar, whom it appears was not offered a cabinet post, could not. The President-elect had Asian Americans, African Americans, and Latinos covered; also, obviously, women. Yet, something was missing. 

If Buttigieg wasn't selected in part because he is gay, the nation's news media was thoroughly fooled. On February 2, 2020, The New York Times reported

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Pete Buttigieg, a former mayor of South Bend, Ind., and a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, to be transportation secretary, putting in place the official who will help oversee President Biden’s overhaul of the nation’s infrastructure.

By a vote of 86 to 13, the Senate made Mr. Buttigieg, 39, the nation’s first openly gay cabinet secretary to be confirmed by the upper chamber and Mr. Biden’s youngest cabinet member.

The Times, recognizing the importance of the Secretary's challenge to help transform the nation's infrastructure, waited until its second sentence to note that Buttigieg was "the nation's first openly gay cabinet secretary." ABC News and NPR eagerly noted in their very first sentence that he had "made history" as "the first openly gay" individual to win Senate confirmation to run a Cabinet department. 

Pete Buttigieg's failure thus far to be an effective Transportation secretary has nothing to do with his sexual preference and if he succeeds in the future, it will have nothing to do with his sexual preference.  It's unclear whether Aaron Rupar nor Donald Trump Jr. fully understands this, and there is a tremendous amount of things to criticize the latter for. However, when he asserts that the former South Bend mayor was selected because he is gay, he is not homophobic and very likely not wrong.

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