New Book Recounts Donald Trump's Homophobia, Anti-Trans Rhetoric

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday September 28, 2022

Donald Trump gestures while speaking during a news conference at the White House, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Washington
Donald Trump gestures while speaking during a news conference at the White House, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Washington  (Source:AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster))

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman details episodes in her upcoming book, "Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America," that illustrate the one-term president's transphobia and anti-LGBTQ+ speech and attitudes, The Daily Beast reported.

The piece recounts an especially telling incident in which then-candidate Trump was preparing for a debate with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016. Reince Priebus, helping Trump prepare, asked a question about a transgender student's right to use the restroom corresponding to their gender identity.

Trump asked for clarification with these words:

"Cocked or decocked?"

When the people in the room didn't understand what Trump was saying, "Trump then began making 'a chopping gesture,'" the book relates, before he clarified his question: "With cock or without cock?"

When an adviser asked, "What difference does that make?" Trump dug himself in deeper, saying, "What if a girl was in the bathroom and someone came in, lifted up a skirt, and a schlong was hanging out?"

The book explains that the former president's mind was so stuck in the gutter that his "conversations with associates would frequently lead toward 'lurid detail[s]' of sexually explicit topics," the Daily Beast said — perhaps not a surprise, given that "even after the 'Access Hollywood' tape became public, Trump would refer to his hot-mic moment on grabbing women by the 'pussy' as merely 'locker-room talk,'" the article added.

According to the Daily Beast, the book documents "former Trump employees" recalling the former president as "mocking gay men, or men who were seen as weak, with the words 'queer' or 'faggot,'" and it talks about how "Trump also tended to bully those who were gay," though "not to their faces. Instead, behind closed doors."

The former president's fixation extended to "strange obsessions over whether or not specific people both inside and outside his orbit were gay," the article added.

This conduct was nothing new in 2016 or during Trump's single term in the White House, which ended after Trump lost the 2020 election to President Joe Biden. The Washington Post, also reporting on Haberman's book, noted that the reporter "traces Trump's political career back to the 1980s, where she reports he frequently made comments that were homophobic, particularly toward gay men, and washed his hands immediately after meeting someone who had AIDS."

"Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America" is due out from Penguin Random House on Oct. 4.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.