Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell has reportedly begun making moves to convince the Trump administration to consider cutting intelligence ties to nations that criminalize homosexuality in an effort to prompt them to change their views. Meanwhile Trump’s probable opponent in the 2020 election, Joe Biden, has recently accepted endorsements from groups whose members hail from those same countries.
Grenell, who is thought to be the first openly gay member of a presidential cabinet according to The Hill, told the New York Times the effort speaks to the value the U.S. places on civil rights and says he has “the president’s total support.”
“We can’t just simply make the moral argument and expect others to respond in kind because telling others that it’s the right thing to do doesn’t always work,” Grenell said in an interview with The New York Times published Wednesday. “To fight for decriminalization is to fight for basic human rights.”
“This is an American value, and this is United States policy,” he said.
Nearly 70 countries criminalize homosexuality, including U.S. intelligence partners like Egypt, Kenya and Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, a group called Emgage — which calls itself the largest Muslim PAC in the country, is backed by progressive billionaire George Soros, and has partnered with Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups in the past — has recently endorsed Joe Biden for president after Bernie Sanders left the race.
Emgage has collaborated with a Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated group on events that in recent years attracted speakers who openly opposed LGBT rights and supported terror groups. Last year, Emgage became an official cohost of Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) conferences. ISNA was previously revealed to be part of the Muslim Brotherhood network—though it claims it is no longer associated with the group.
The 2018 ISNA conference featured an array of homophobic speakers. One was Omar Suleiman, an imam who has called homosexuality a “disease” that will “destroy your children.” Another, former ISNA president Muzammil Siddiqi, said he “supported laws in countries where homosexuality is punishable by death.” Imam Shamsi Ali, an attendee who was described as a “moderate” on ISNA’s website, has stated that homosexuality is an “unbearable plague.”
Meanwhile, ISNA has disinvited pro-LGBT groups Muslims for Progressive Values and the Human Rights Campaign, because they “don’t fit in.”
While the civil rights angle Grenell is pursuing may have detractors that question what exactly cultural differences have to do with sharing intelligence in an increasingly connected world, it’s clear some of the nations on Grenell’s list have been the ones most openly hostile to the U.S. in the past, a reality that is apparently not as much of a concern to Biden.