Trump and GOP spread an Easter message of hate and division
Trump and the GOP attacked the White House for celebrating the annual Transgender Rights Day by claiming the annual celebration detracted from Easter which fell on the same day this year. | White House photo

President Biden came under vicious attack from Donald Trump and the GOP’s fascist MAGA religious right for celebrating March 31— which corresponded with Easter Sunday this year — as “Transgender Day of Visibility.”

Biden called on “all Americans to join us in lifting up the lives and voices of transgender people throughout our Nation and to work toward eliminating violence and discrimination based on gender identity.”

Trump’s campaign accused Biden, a Roman Catholic, of being insensitive to religion, and fellow Republicans happily and disgracefully joined in on and piled on the assault.

“We call on Joe Biden’s failing campaign and White House to issue an apology to the millions of Catholics and Christians across America who believe tomorrow is for one celebration only — the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” said Karoline Leavitt, the Trump campaign’s press secretary. She condemned what she called the Biden administration’s “years-long assault on the Christian faith.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., hypocritically added on social media that the “Biden White House has betrayed the central tenet of Easter” and called the president’s support of transgender rights “outrageous and abhorrent.”

Seeking to divide

White House spokesperson Andrew Bates replied that the Republicans attacking Biden “are seeking to divide and weaken our country with cruel, hateful and dishonest rhetoric.”

“As a Christian who celebrates Easter with family, President Biden stands for bringing people together and upholding the dignity and freedoms of every American,” Bates said. “President Biden will never abuse his faith for political purposes or for profit.”

The advocacy group GLAAD said in a statement that “people can both celebrate Easter and show their support for the trans community.”

“The date of Easter moves each year, while Trans Day of Visibility is always recognized on March 31, but this year right-wing politicians and talking heads are using the coincidental timing to overshadow the hope and joy that Easter represents,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD president and CEO.

It should be lost on no one that the attacks on Transgender people serve a very real political purpose. Many voters feel that the world situation and the domestic situation are difficult to understand. Republicans have sowed so much distrust about everything from the economy to the usefulness of elections that attacking transgender people gives them the ability to take advantage of the chaos they helped create by telling people they will restore “sanity” and order, they will go back to “the days when boys were boys and girls were girls.” They have no real solutions for real problems so they stir up a campaign based on fake solutions to non-existent problems. It is a crude way of calling for support at the expense of a particular group and by dividing one group against the other. It’s transgender people, who try to tell the public, not an unjust system, that are responsible for the chaos in American life.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump also continued his pattern of whining about the criminal and civil trials he faces by turning his Easter message into a 164-word, one-sentence anti-prosecutor rant.

Trump stuck to insulting the prosecutors—and the country, which he called “a now-failing nation”–in an all-caps message on his platform, Truth Social:

“Happy Easter to all, including crooked and corrupt prosecutors and judges that are doing everything possible to interfere with the presidential election of 2024, and put me in prison, including those many people that I completely & totally despise because they want to destroy America, a now failing nation, like “deranged” Jack Smith, who is evil and ‘sick,’ Mrs. Fani ‘Fauni’ Wade”—her last name is Willis—“who said she hardly knew the ‘special’ prosecutor, only to find that he spent years ‘loving’ her, long before the Georgia persecution of President Trump began (and thereby making the case against me null, void, and illegal!), and lazy on violent crime Alvin Bragg who, with Crooked Joe’s DOJ thugs, unfairly working in the D.A.’s office, illegally indicted me on a case he never wanted to bring and virtually all legal scholars say is a case that should not be brought, is breaking the law in doing so, was turned down by all other law enforcement authorities, and is not a crime. Happy Easter everyone!”

None of Trump’s prosecutorial targets replied to the Trump attacks.

Justice Department Special Prosecutor Smith oversees the D.C. case—currently stalled by Trump-named U.S. Supreme Court justices—against former Oval Office occupant Trump for depriving voters of their rights to have their votes counted equally and reported equally, by aiding and inciting the U.S. Capitol insurrection three years ago.

Smith also oversees the Florida U.S. District Court trial, slow-walked by a Trump-named judge, over Trump’s purloining top-secret White House papers and taking them to his Mar-a-Lago estate. The papers, which Trump later showed to an Australian business magnate, and others, included a Pentagon plan to make war on Iran.

Office prosecuting Trump

Willis is the Fulton County (Atlanta), Georgia DA whose office is prosecuting Trump for racketeering and conspiracy to literally steal Georgia’s electoral votes in 2020 from Biden. Trump’s lawyers delayed that trial by forcing a hearing on an alleged conflict of interest—a romantic relationship—between Willis and her chief investigator. Bragg is the Manhattan District Attorney, trying Trump for illegal 2016 campaign hush money payments to stripper Stormy Daniels to cover up their affair. That trial begins this month.

Biden’s Easter message was polite and devout. His statement honoring the transgender day recognized their contributions and pledged, again, to protect their rights as Americans.

“Jill and I send our warmest wishes to Christians around the world celebrating Easter Sunday,” Biden’s Easter message read, in part. “Easter reminds us of the power of hope and the promise of Christ’s Resurrection.

“As we gather with loved ones, we remember Jesus’s sacrifice. We pray for one another and cherish the blessing of the dawn of new possibilities,” he continued. “And with wars and conflict taking a toll on innocent lives around the world, we renew our commitment to work for peace, security, and dignity for all people.”

And he called “Transgender Americans…part of the fabric of our Nation. Whether serving their communities or in the military, raising families, or running businesses, they help America thrive. They deserve, and are entitled to, the same rights and freedoms as every other American, including the most fundamental freedom to be their true selves.”

Biden, too, brought in politics, by pointing out the hate from the other side.

“Extremists are proposing hundreds of hateful laws that target and terrify transgender kids and their families: Silencing teachers, banning books, and even threatening parents, doctors, and nurses with prison for helping parents get care for their children.

“These bills attack our most basic American values: The freedom to be yourself, the freedom to make your own health care decisions, and even the right to raise your own child.  It is no surprise the bullying and discrimination transgender Americans face is worsening our Nation’s mental health crisis…Let me be clear: All of these attacks are un-American and must end. No one should have to be brave just to be themselves.”

Trump’s latest diatribe—and his campaign spokeswoman’s anti-trans insults –came two weeks after his newest anti-Semitic comments. On March 18, Trump declared that any Jewish voter who votes Democratic does not support Israel, in effect flipping the longtime canard that Jews are a “fifth column” in every nation they inhabit, with dual loyalty at best, and traitors at worst.

“Any Jewish person that votes for Democrats hates their religion, they hate everything about Israel, and they should be ashamed of themselves because Israel will be destroyed,” Trump ranted in a post.

“Trump attacked us with that typical anti-Semitic trope: Jews have dual loyalty, they aren’t loyal to the country in which they live; Jewish loyalty is to Israel, not America,” Alma Rutgers replied in an op-ed in Ct Post.

“Trump, however, modifies this trope in a way that makes it extra insulting. He tells us–Americans who are Jewish–that our first loyalty must be to Israel and that we betray our Judaism when we are guided by the values that inform our politics.”

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Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Award-winning journalist Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of the union news service Press Associates Inc. (PAI). Known for his reporting skills, sharp wit, and voluminous knowledge of history, Mark is a compassionate interviewer but tough when going after big corporations and their billionaire owners.

John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward and a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.