The White House opted not to invite reporters from LGBT and black publications to the annual White House media Christmas party, the first time in more than two decades that these groups were excluded from the annual event.
The lack of an invite was the latest snub that these publications say they have received from the White House, which has minimized the role these publications have been able to play in the press pool, the LGBT news outlet Pink News reported. The outlet noted that this is the first time since President George H.W. Bush that LGBT reporters were not invited to the annual party, and the first time in 20 years that reporters from black publications were excluded.
The snub was raised by Chris Johnson, White House reporter for the Washington Blade, one of the longest-published LGBT publications in the world. Johnson said he had been invited to the event in past years, and initially thought it was a mistake that he did not receive an invitation this year. But after contacting the White House, Johnson said he never got a reply.
“It is consistent with the White House press secretary not calling on me during the on-camera press briefings,” Johnson said.
Trump has been criticized for his actions toward the LGBT community many times during his first year in office. Despite assurances during the campaign that he would be LGBT-friendly, Trump has undertaken a number of actions that critics say underscore rights for these groups. Earlier this year, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a directive to agencies to do as much as possible to accommodate Americans who believe their religious freedoms are being violated. As the Washington Post noted, critics say the move only undercut protection for LGBT people and groups.
Trump also moved to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. military, a move he claimed when announcing the decision on Twitter was in response to the large medical costs associated with this group. But critics responded that the medical costs specific to transgender persons were minuscule compared to the total healthcare costs for service members, and critics said the move was another strike against the LGBT community.