Openly gay Judd Deere lives in Washington, D.C. He has a boyfriend, attended DC Pride, and since January, has served in the Trump White House as Deputy Press Secretary.
Tasked with touting Donald Trump’s policies – including those that erode LGBTQ progress – Deere recently told Buzzfeed News he doesn’t care what the LGBTQ community thinks of him. He says his rise in the Trump administration is proof Trump isn’t homophobic.
“I’m completely open about who I am,” Deere told Buzzfeed. “These individuals that I work with in this building don’t treat me any differently because I’m gay.”
But, there is a caveat to that statement as Deere admits he doesn’t “walk into the White House every day and say, ‘I’m Judd Deere; I’m gay.’”
Adding that the president “doesn’t treat me any different” because he’s gay, Deere cops to not knowing if Trump knows he identifies as gay.
Like former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Deere is originally from Arkansas.
He previously worked for the state’s Attorney General which fought against listing both same-sex parents on a child’s birth certificate. Striking down Fayetteville’s LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinance was also on the menu during his time there.
“I focused on hiring the very best people, and that’s why I hired Judd,” wrote Sanders, in an email to Buzzfeed. “I am proud to have him on our team to help on LGBT issues as well as the many others in his portfolio.”
Speaking of ‘helping on LGBT issues,’ Deere says he has no problem with the Trump administration’s policies regarding the community.
His position is that none of the controversial, news-making policies are really discriminatory.
On whether a baker can turn away a same-sex couple looking for a wedding cake?
“Yeah, that’s fine,” says Deere. “I’ll just go find another cake shop that will.”
Trump’s ban on transgender military service members, Deere says trans soldiers “erode military readiness,” and adds that the ban was “developed through extensive studies within the military by senior military officials.”
Not true – Trump’s own generals have publicly shared they were surprised by the July 2017 tweets announcing the ban.
When it comes to allowing healthcare providers to deny treatment to LGBTQ people based on ‘sincerely held religious beliefs,’ Deere (towing the administration line) says Trump is protecting ‘conscience rights.’
Buzzfeed’s Dominic Holden asked Deere what Trump has done for LGBTQ Americans, and Deere points to the president’s promise to end the HIV epidemic by 2030, as well as launching a “global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality.”
Across the board, though, Deere maintains that any notion the Trump administration is anti-LGBTQ is “just a smear campaign.”
And when it comes to how he himself might be perceived after agreeing to the Buzzfeed interview, the deputy press secretary is unfazed.
“I don’t go into a dark depression because somebody hates the person I work for, or wants to get upset at me because they think I’m crazy for working here, because it just doesn’t matter to me,” said Deere.