After pardoning a racist Arizona sheriff last year, the president has waved charges against another of his key allies.
Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday that he plans to pardon conservative author and anti-LGBTQ activist Dinesh D’Souza, who famously claimed that President Barack Obama is a “gay Muslim.” In a 9:18am post, Trump claimed that D’Souza had been “treated very unfairly by our government.”
Responding to the POTUS, the noted conspiracy theorist also suggested his prosecution was politically motivated. He claimed “Obama and his stooges tried to extinguish my American dream & destroy my faith in America.”
In truth, D’Souza pled guilty to violating campaign finance laws in 2014 after paying two colleagues to donate to the failed Senate run of fellow Dartmouth College alum Wendy E. Long, who was campaigning against Kirsten Gillibrand in New York. During his plea hearing, the 57-year-old provocateur admitted his behavior was “wrong.”
“I knew that causing a campaign contribution to be made in the name of another was wrong and something the law forbids,” he said. “I deeply regret my conduct.”
Retconning D’Souza’s sentence of five years of probation is alarming given that he infamously mocked Emma Gonzales and the student activists who survived the Feb 14 attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, behavior it now appears as if the president is endorsing.
D’Souza also argued in Obama’s America: Unmaking the American Dream that Obama is an anti-colonialist whose Kenyan father taught him to destroy the country.
But what may prove equally distressing to the LGBTQ community are the far-right conservative’s frequent attacks on queer and transgender people. D’Souza outed his LGBTQ classmates during his time at Dartmouth in the 1980s, publishing the names of Gay Student Association members in the Dartmouth Review.
“As a result of this article, some members of the group had their sexual orientation disclosed to friends and family members,” Mother Jones previously reported, which led some GSA members to consider taking their own lives.
Those actions have characterized his persistent trolling of the LGBTQ community in the years since.
Writing for the right-wing website Townhall in 2008, D’Souza referred to marriage equality as “legal fraud.” He added that same-sex marriage is unnecessary because LGBTQ people do have the right to wed, so long as they “marry adult members of the opposite sex.”
D’Souza has also claimed that Adolf Hitler was not “anti-gay,” despite the fact that the Third Reich exterminated LGBTQ people in concentration camps during World War II.
After the 2016 shooting on Pulse Nightclub, the pundit also alleged the Orlando tragedy—in which 49 people were killed—should be a wakeup call for the LGBTQ community about the dangers of “coddling Islamic radicals.” He said on Twitter that “playing with snakes… can be quite dangerous.”
The Trump administration has defended pardoning an anti-Muslim homophobe by saying he has “accepted responsibility” for his actions.
“Dinesh D’Souza is an individual who, you know, has made restitution and accepted responsibility for his actions, but these are infractions and crimes that are rarely prosecuted,” press secretary Raj Shah told Fox News, “and many believe that he was the subject of some selective prosecution from the previous administration.”
Trump “believes it’s appropriate that he receive a pardon after community service, paying a fine, and doing other things that the judge has required,” Shah added.