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Melania Trump, long absent from campaign, will appear at a Log Cabin Republicans event in Mar-a-Lago

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LA Post: Melania Trump, long absent from campaign, will appear at a Log Cabin Republicans event in Mar-a-Lago
April 20, 2024
STEPHANY MATAT - AP

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Former first lady Melania Trump will attend a fundraiser Saturday for the Log Cabin Republicans, an advocacy group for LGBTQ+ members of the GOP, in a rare political appearance after months of being absent from her husband's campaign.

The event at the Palm Beach estate she shares with former President Donald Trump will take place behind closed doors. But it will be the first major political event this year for the former first lady.

Melania Trump had for months not appeared at her husband’s campaign events, notably being absent at his victory party on Super Tuesday. Her attendance at the fundraiser — for a group she has previously supported — could be a sign that she will ramp up her schedule with several months left before the November election.

Both Trumps went together to cast their ballots in the Florida primary last month. When a reporter asked if she would return to the campaign trail, she responded with a smile, “Stay tuned.”

The former first lady then attended a high-profile fundraiser at hedge-fund billionaire John Paulson’s house in Palm Beach, where she was photographed with her husband in front of the mansion facing the ocean.

The Log Cabin Republicans group describes itself on its website as the county’s “largest organization representing LGBT conservatives and straight allies who support fairness, freedom, and equality for all Americans.” Melania Trump was a special guest and award recipient of the organization’s Spirit of Lincoln award in 2021 at a dinner hosted at Mar-a-Lago.

The Log Cabin Republicans on Friday posted on X thanking Melania Trump for her message in a Fox News Digital interview.

“We must unite in our effort to establish a society where equality is the everyday experience of every American,” Melania Trump said in the interview.

In a 2020 endorsement of the former president for his reelection bid, the Log Cabin Republicans described Trump as having a “commitment to govern from a place of inclusion.” In this endorsement, the group praised Trump for his “commitment to end the spread of HIV/AIDS” and his initiative to “end the criminalization of homosexuality internationally.”

Yet critics often criticize Trump’s record on LGBTQ+ issues. During his presidency, he nominated judges for the U.S. Supreme Court, including Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, who were criticized by liberal advocates for LGBTQ+ people.

Trump also faced national criticism in 2017 when he announced transgender people were barred from military service, when about 15,000 transgender people were enlisted at the time. In 2019, he barred U.S. embassies from displaying the rainbow or pride flag during Pride Month.

Throughout his campaign, Trump has repeatedly mocked transgender people using language of gender identity that LGBTQ+ critics call harmful. He has acted out a young athlete struggling to lift heavy barbells compared with other competitors “who transitioned.”

In campaign speeches he has touted his promise to cut federal funding on schools pushing what he calls “transgender insanity.”

Some additional promises Trump has made in his rallies include prohibiting federal money going to hospitals that provide gender-affirming care to minors, or ending any program that promotes sex or gender transition. He has also promised that he’d push Congress to ban chemical or surgical interventions on minors.

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