The man credited as a major force behind President Donald Trump‘s out-of-the blue, July 26, 2017 tweetstorm announcing he was banning all transgender people from the U.S. Armed Forces is now the leading candidate to replace outgoing White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.
That man is House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, a Tea Party Republican from North Carolina. The Freedom Caucus is the most far-right group among House Republicans.
“The President has a long list of qualified candidates and I know he’ll make the best selection for his administration and for the country,” U.S. Rep. Meadows told Politico on Monday, adding that being Trump’s Chief of Staff “would be an incredible honor.”
(There are, in fact, few viable candidates interested in becoming Chief of Staff.)
GLAAD describes Meadows as an “Anti-LGBTQ congressman who ran for office on his support for North Carolina’s marriage amendment, and who is credited as a key force in pressuring the Trump administration to enact its transgender military ban.”
Meadows is also among the 38 House Republicans who signed a letter last month urging President Trump to remove protections for LGBTQ workers from his new USMCA trade pact.
A trade pact “is no place for the adoption of social policy” on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI),” the letter says.
As head of the Freedom Caucus, Meadows urged President Trump, even before he was sworn into office, to roll back or rescind a variety of President Barack Obama’s LGBT protections, including guidelines to help protect the rights of transgender students. The administration, via Secretary Betsy DeVos and then-Attorney General Jeff Session, complied.
The Freedom Caucus, under Meadows, also called for President Trump “to repeal the Department of Health and Human Services regulation that implemented the nondiscrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act,” as The Advocate reported at the time.
Meadows opposes same-sex marriage and supports protecting those who also oppose marriage equality, seeing it as a free-speech issue.
In 2013 Rep. Meadows claimed if the Supreme Court were to rule same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry it would create “a constitutional crisis.”
Finally, watch as Bloomberg reporter Kevin Cirilli, interviewing Meadows about the transgender ban minutes after Trump announced it, gets the last word in by calling the 15,000 active-duty transgender service members “heroes”: