In June 2018, for the second time since taking office, U.S. President Donald Trump has failed to issue a proclamation recognizing the LGBTQ community at the start of Pride month — and for weeks, Washington Blade reporter Chris Johnson had been trying to ask why the administration apparently broke with a pattern set by its predecessor.
But in keeping with a different new tradition, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders has ignored his hand every times he raises it to ask.
The Blade is the only LGBTQ-focused news outlet attending White House briefings, and Sanders has only called on Johnson once — in January — during her tenure as press secretary. He doesn’t know exactly why, but Johnson told us it is in keeping with the Trump administration’s “disengaged at best, hostile at other times” approach to the LGBT community. “Their not calling on me is very consistent to that approach,” he told us.
Blade editor Kevin Naff told us Sanders’ refusal to take questions from the only reporter in the room from an LGBTQ publication is “frustrating and disappointing, but not surprising.” Overall, he said, the administration’s approach to the community has been disenfranchising.
Founded in 1969, the Blade is the oldest and one of the largest LGBT news publication in the country and as Johnson pointed out, unique in that with any question Sanders takes from a Bladereporter, she can expect the administration will be held accountable for issues, concerns and questions focused on that community. “I think it would be beneficial to the American public, to the LGBT community and the Trump administration to call on me to address these issues, so we have a clear understanding of where they’re coming from,” Naff said.