Trump “Joked” That Mike Pence Wants To Hang All Gay People

Is it such a good idea to tease the man who might have your job?

Donald Trump appeased the GOP’s evangelical base when he tapped Pence as his running mate, but he frequently mocks the ex-governor’s religiosity, according to The New Yorker.

According to a Trump staffer, the president asks people leaving meetings with Pence, “Did Mike make you pray?”

Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

And once in a discussion of gay rights, Trump pointed to Pence and declared “Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!”

Pence staunchly opposed LGBT rights as governor: In 2006, he supported an amendment to the Indiana constitution that would have defined marriage as between one man and one woman. (Same-sex marriage, he warned, would lead to “societal collapse.”) In 2015 he signed SB 101, a broad religious freedom law that allows businesses in Indiana to deny services to LGBT people.

And back in 2000, Pence suggested funds from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program should go to organizations “which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”

But insiders say Trump’s jabs are more about his desire to “let Pence know who’s boss,” than any belief in equality or inclusion.

He’s also mocked Pence’s opposition to reproductive rights: Told that if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, many states would probably legalize abortion anyway, Trump told Pence, “You see? You’ve wasted all this time and energy on it, and it’s not going to end abortion anyway.”

Update: Alyssa Farah, press secretary for Vice President Pence, told The Washington Blade, “Articles like this are why the American people have lost so much faith in the press. The New Yorker piece is filled with unsubstantiated, unsourced claims that are untrue and offensive.”

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.