When Barack Obama took office in 2009, he inherited regular traditions from George W. Bush. February was African-American History Month under Bush; it was the same under Obama. March was American Red Cross Month in both 2008 and 2009. As his presidency continued, Obama added proclamations that Bush hadn’t recognized: National Financial Literacy Month, National Wilderness Month and others.
Starting in 2009 and for the next seven years, Obama declared June as National LGBT Pride Month, recognizing gay people and calling “to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.”
In 2017, it isn’t. Pride Month is one of four Obama-era proclamations that President Trump declined to continue.
(The names of some of the months changed from Bush to Obama, as did a few of the months during which the issue was recognized.)
The other three that Trump didn’t continue? National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, National Building Safety Month and National Colorectal Cancer Month — although that last observance was only added in Obama’s second term.
Trump also revived a Bush-era recognition: National Homeownership Month. Obama, perhaps because he came into office as the country was still reeling from a recession that stemmed from the mortgage crisis, declined to continue that tradition. The only other month that Obama didn’t continue from Bush in 2009 was National Hospice Month, although he did proclaim it in 2010.
Why the shift on Pride Month? The most likely explanation is that Trump continues to make decisions in the White House that are informed by his base of support — and one of his most fervent bases is evangelical Christians.
Just because Trump didn’t recognize Pride Month in 2017 doesn’t mean he won’t in 2018. Nor does his failure to declare the month seem to have significantly dampened the celebrations.
On July 5 of last year, Trump gave a campaign speech in Raleigh, N.C., in which he addressed his appeal to gay Americans.
“Believe me, I am better for the gay community,” Trump said, contrasting himself with Hillary Clinton.
The gay community didn’t agree. Trump won 14 percent of the LGBT vote, according to exit polling, compared with Clinton’s 77 percent. He won 80 percent of the evangelical vote.
Those figures alone likely explain his Pride Month decision. As for the rationale behind skipping National Building Safety Month? Theories are welcome.