White House says Mike Pence not a homophobe since he had lunch with a gay

Mike Pence, gay, Aspen, fundraiser

In a guffaw-inducing declaration, a deputy White House Press Secretary has said noted homophobe Mike Pence couldn’t possibly hate gay people since he just had lunch with the Irish Prime Minister. Seriously.

Pence dined with out-gay PM Leo Varadkar and his husband Dr. Matthew Barrett on Tuesday. Judd Deere, the out-gay deputy Press Secretary, tweeted out news of the meeting. “For all of you who still think our @VP is anti-gay, I point you to his and the @SecondLady’s schedule tomorrow where they will join Taoiseach @LeoVaradkar and his partner Dr. Matthew Barrett for lunch in Ireland,” Deere tweeted.

Related: Mike Pence tweets about plans to celebrate his Irish roots, Ireland responds “Maybe another time”

Deere, who has defended the Trump Administration’s virulent anti-LGBTQ record in the past, apparently knows nothing of Pence’s long history of attacks on queer people. That, or he somehow thinks a single lunch meeting somehow negates Pence’s record.

As governor of Indiana, Pence advocated conversion therapy, the widely denounced practice of forcibly trying to change sexual orientation or gender identity through religious instruction. Doctors and psychiatrists have declared the practice a form of torture, and a number of states have banned it in minors. Furthermore, Pence opposed legal protections of queer people, spoken out against marriage equality, cut funding to HIV/AIDS charities and research studies and even criticized the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” which allowed LGBTQ people to serve in the military.