Vice President Mike Pence backed the Trump administration’s move to bar U.S. embassies around the world from flying the rainbow pride flag on their flagpoles during LGBTQ Pride Month, telling NBC News that “it’s the right decision.”
In an interview with White House correspondent Kristen Welker on Monday, the vice president confirmed NBC News’ exclusive report that said the U.S. Department of State had rejected requests from at least four U.S. embassies to fly the flag during June.
Pence told NBC News he was aware that the State Department had said the American flag was the only flag that should fly on the flagpoles.
He added, “I support that.”
“As the president said on the night we were elected, we’re proud to be able to serve every American,” Pence said when pressed by Welker on what he would say to the LGBTQ community that feels the decision runs counter to President Donald Trump’s nearly week-old tweet celebrating Pride Month.
“We both feel that way very passionately, but when it comes to the American flagpole, and American embassies, and capitals around the world, one American flag flies,” the vice president added.
Pence said that the Trump administration had “put no restrictions” on the pride flag or other flags flying elsewhere at U.S. embassies.
NBC News adds:
This month, American diplomatic posts have been flying the pride flag inside embassies or putting banners up on the exterior walls of buildings, but requests to put it on the embassy flagpole as was done in years past have been rejected.
LGBTQ rights groups and some U.S. diplomats have raised concerns about the decision, arguing that it contradicts the Trump administration’s claim to be a leader in promoting rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people around the world.
U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, one of the ambassadors whose requests to fly the pride flag were rejected by Washington, is leading an administration campaign to decriminalize homosexuality around the world, and this month Trump even tweeted in support of LGBTQ Pride Month and the decriminalization campaign.
State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said Monday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “respects the dignity of every individual” but did not believe other flags should fly alongside the American flag at U.S. embassies.
The Obama administration gave blanket permission to U.S. embassies to fly the Pride flag during June, which is recognized as LGBT Pride Month.
Evangelical leader Franklin Graham on Saturday celebrated news reports that the Trump administration has denied multiple requests from U.S. embassies to fly the LGBT Pride flag on their flagpoles for Pride month.
In a post to his Facebook page, Graham personally thanked Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for “making the decision not to fly the gay flag over our embassies during June in recognition of gay pride month.”
“The gay pride flag is offensive to Christians and millions of people of other faiths, not only in this country but around the world,” he claimed. “The U.S. flag represents our nation—everyone—regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation.”