Human Rights Campaign head: Trump the 'worst president on LGBTQ issues ever'

The head of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) on Thursday called President TrumpDonald John TrumpMost Americans break with Trump on Ukraine, but just 45 percent think he should be removed: poll Judge orders Democrats to give notice if they request Trump's NY tax returns Trump's doctor issues letter addressing 'speculation' about visit to Walter Reed MORE "the worst president on LGBTQ issues ever,” citing his rollback of several Obama-era protections.

HRC president Alphonso David made the comment during an interview on Hill.TV, pointing to a new rule from the Trump administration that would allow some faith-based foster care and adoption groups that receive federal funding to exclude LGBT families.

“Donald Trump is openly pro-gay marriage, I mean I just don’t understand; that just seems like a facile and ridiculous claim,” Hill.TV co-host Saagar Enjeti remarked in response to David's declaration.

The HRC chief maintained that Trump is not targeting same-sex couples but asserted that he is “attacking LGBTQ people for who they are.”

“We are living in an uncharted territory where LGBT people are being attacked every single day by the Trump administration and the [Department of Health and Human Services] rule is just one of many examples where the Trump administration is targeting gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer people,” he said.

White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere issued a lengthy statement pushing back on David's comments by highlighting a number of LGBTQ initiatives Trump has launched under his administration, including a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality. He also noted that Trump has "hired and promoted LGBT Americans to the highest levels of government, including positions at the White House, cabinet agencies, and ambassadorships."

"As the first U.S. President in our history to favor same-sex marriage when he was sworn in, President Trump has never considered LGBT Americans second class citizens and has opposed discrimination of any kind against them," he wrote.

David argued that perceived discrimination is happening across a number of other federal agencies, including the Department of Labor.

In August, the Labor Department proposed a rule allowing “religion-exercising organizations” with federal contracts to raise religious exemptions if they are accused of bias in their hiring practices.

While the agency maintained that the proposal looks to protect religious freedoms, advocacy groups like HRC have warned that such protections essentially allow companies the ability to hire or fire LGBT people based on their religious beliefs.

“How is that legitimate. How can you justify firing someone simply because they’re LGBTQ. He’s going to the core of our identity,” David said.

In response to David's criticism of the proposed HHS rule on foster families, the department previously directed Hill.TV to a press release announcing the proposal.

"HHS is committed to fully enforcing the civil rights laws passed by Congress," the statement reads. "The proposed rule would better align its grants regulations with federal statutes, eliminating regulatory burden, including burden on the free exercise of religion."

—Tess Bonn