Acting House Speaker Patrick McHenry has made campaigning against LGBTQ+ rights one of his hallmark stances in Congress.
And now, an out lobbyist is accusing the North Carolina Republican of blatant homophobia.
Jimmy Williams, who now works as a social media consultant, tweeted Tuesday night that McHenry once banned him from his office due to his sexual orientation.
“Hey Mr Acting Speaker, remember when I was your lobbyist from @realtors? You banned me from your office because I was gay,” Williams tweeted. “I’ve never forgotten. Ever. Now that you’re the Acting Speaker, you should answer for what you did to me aka blatant homophobia.”
I’d be happy to speak with the House Ethics Committee abt this and give them the names of my supervisors who told me I was banned and why. 2/2— jimmy williams (@Jimmyspolitics) October 4, 2023
As expected, there is strong reaction to Williams’ accusation.
Like the great Maya Angelou said, when people show you who they are, believe them, the first time. A small man with a fragile ego.— Kerry Carr (@kcarroth_carr) October 4, 2023
Thanks for speaking out.— Anita (@AnitaSt62077960) October 4, 2023
I am so sorry you were treated that way. And hell yeah you should file that complaint.— Jenny Gattone (@TheWriteJennyG) October 4, 2023
While Williams’ allegation, if true, is a story on its own, McHenry owns an ignominious history of being anti-LGBTQ+.
During his early days in Congress, he was a vehement opponent of same-sex marriage, claiming it was part of an “organized effort by the radical left and their allies in Hollywood and academia to destroy our traditional American culture.”
When New Jersey’s Supreme Court ruled gay couples are entitled to the same rights as straight couples, McHenry’s office issued a blistering statement… even though he represents North Carolina.
“First Massachusetts and today, New Jersey, have shown us all why we desperately need a federal constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage and we need it now,” he said.
“A few liberal judges in these two states have abused their positions of trust by legislating from the bench. This is another attempt to destroy the institution that is the cornerstone of civilization and family life – marriage.”
Though same-sex unions are now recognized nationwide, McHenry and an ardent group of homophobic hardliners are still intent on opposing them. Last summer, he was one of 169 House Republicans who voted against the Respect for Marriage act, which protects same-sex and interracial marriage (39 House Republicans voted in favor of the measure, which Joe Biden signed into law).
Unsurprisingly, his views on transgender issues aren’t any more enlightened. This year, he voted in favor of legislation that would bar women and girls from playing on school sports teams matching their gender identity.
But wait: the 18-year congressional vet isn’t only anti-LGBTQ+. He also seems to be vengeful!
One of McHenry’s first orders as temporary speaker was kicking Nancy Pelosi out of her office…while she’s in San Francisco attending Dianne Feinstein’s funeral.
Pelosi, by the way, effectively ran the House with a narrow majority–unlike Republicans. She helped Biden pass his two signature domestic policy bills: Build Back Better and the Inflation Reduction Act.
No Republicans voted for the latter measure, but it didn’t matter, because Pelosi actually, you know, controlled her conference.
Walked by this evening and the hideaway is being packed up -> pic.twitter.com/n0jWFhCHxP— Nicholas Wu (@nicholaswu12) October 4, 2023
McHenry, who was the top Republican on the Financial Services Committee, was one of Kevin McCarthy’s top allies. Powerless over his conference, McHenry slammed the speaker’s gavel in disgust Tuesday following his pal’s ousting.
As acting speaker, McHenry can’t bring legislation to the floor, but he can act like a petulant child!
Cute bow tie, though…
Dude’s got some issues with that gavel— Luke Zaleski (@ZaleskiLuke) October 3, 2023
With McCarthy ruling out another run for Speaker, there’s no clear front-runner for the position. That means McHenry could be speaker pro tempore for a while.
That poor, poor gavel.