Trump admin rejecting requests from U.S. embassies to fly pride flag: report

The Trump administration rejected requests from at least four U.S. embassies to fly the rainbow pride flag on flagpoles in June, NBC News reported Friday.

The U.S. embassies in Israel, Germany, Brazil and Latvia were denied by the Trump State Department the ability to fly the flag this month, which is LGBT Pride Month, according to three American diplomats. 

The Hill has reached out to the State Department for comment. 

Embassies are expected to obtain permission from Washington to fly the flag, according to the agency's policy. But U.S. diplomats said they were expressly told this year that requests must be specifically approved. No approvals have yet been granted.

The embassies are allowed to display the flag elsewhere on embassy grounds, including inside and on exterior walls.

It is unclear whether other embassies will fly the flag on the flagpoles without having asked permission, NBC reported.

The Trump policy is a noted change from previous pride months under the Obama administration, where the government granted blanket permission for all overseas embassies to fly the rainbow flag.

NBC noted that the State Department denied the request of the U.S. Embassy in Berlin. The embassy is led by U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell, the most senior openly gay person in Trump’s administration.

"The President's recognition of Pride Month and his tweet encouraging our decriminalization campaign gives me even more pride to once again march in the Berlin Pride parade, hang a huge banner on the side of the Embassy recognizing our pride, host multiple events at the Embassy and the residence, and fly the gay pride flag," Grenell said Friday in a statement to the outlet.

Friday marked the first time since Trump took office that he formally recognized Pride Month. 

The Trump administration has undertaken an effort, led by Grenell, to end the criminalization of homosexuality, and the president has spoken about helping the LGBT community.

But the president has received fierce backlash from organizations and advocates over his administration's rollback of LGBTQ rights and protections for transgender people in particular.

The Department of Health and Human Services released a proposal last week rolling back health care protections for transgender people. The regulation would scrap ObamaCare's definition of "sex discrimination" to remove protections for gender identity.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed a rule earlier this month that would roll back protections for homeless transgender people by allowing federally funded shelters to turn away transgender people for religious reasons.

Trump tweeted in July 2017 he would “not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military.” The controversial policy was met by a series of lawsuits from LGBTQ advocacy groups, but it took effect in April.

The president defended the new Pentagon rule this week when he was pressed by British commentator Piers Morgan about how his public support for the LGBTQ community appears to contradict the ban.

“If you feel that protective of the LGBT community, why did you feel the need to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. military?” Morgan asked while Trump was in the U.K. for a three-day visit.

Trump said it was because transgender people “take massive amounts of drugs.”

“They have to ... and you’re not allowed to take drugs,” Trump said. “You’re not allowed to take any drugs. You take an aspirin. And they have to after the operation. They have to. They have no choice. They have to.”