June 8 was when a gay Donald Trump fanboy from Albemarle, NC, Brian Talbert, leapt from utter obscurity to slightly less obscurity with a fatwah against Charlotte Pride for denying his application for a parade float.
He wanted in to glorify the President by populating the ride with flags, bunting, a Statue of Liberty, drag queens in blue sequined "Make America Great Again evening wear", and a man dressed as the First Lady, the whole to comprise the most dazzling display of patriotism ever seen, Talbert told The Washington Post.
So what's come of it all?
Not a damn thing, other than that Talbert has gulled 209 people into giving him $7500, and he's been played like a fiddle by a bunch of antigay right-wing publications and groups, not to mention drafted as a useful idiot by President Trump's political director, an unindicted Chris Christie/Bridgegate survivor.
Let's review Talbert's #MAGAGA (Make America Gay AND Great Again) to date:
Charlotte Pride boycott? Fail.
Talbert called on the main sponsors of Charlotte Pride to withdraw their support.
Wells-Fargo said no. The rest ignored him.
Then Talbert called on Trump supporters to boycott the sponsors. One woman posted on Talbert's Gofundme page that she had cast off shopping at Food Lion for Wal-Mart.
Collectively, the principal sponsors reported over $100 billion in revenue last year. Deplorable Pride, Talbert says, has 12 members. 313 people follow their Facebook page; 286 like it.
Not really the makings of a mass movement.
Deplora-ball? Miss Deplorable Pageant with $2500 prize paid at crowning? Lake Norman picnic? Fail.
Talbert initially announced a schedule of alternative pride events, though without dates or venues. All were dropped from Deplorable's website in Week 2. Talbert said the events will be back. He's only got 57 days left to get them up and going. And find some paying audiences.
Parade float? Fail.
Talbert's permit was denied May 16. He waited three weeks to launch his campaign. He made no effort to seek a negotiated solution with Charlotte Pride.
Talbert launched a $100,000 money beg at gofundme.com to sue Charlotte Pride and force them to let his float in. In Week 2 he said he wouldn't put a float in the parade if it was offered.
Last week he called on Trump supporters in North Carolina- most of whom despise gays- to line "every foot" of the three-quarter-mile parade route, holding signs and not being bullied.
Transparency and 100% honesty? Fail.
That's what Talbert started promising, in interviews and in a rewrite of his gofundme money beg, after we asked some questions about his use of donated money on Deplorable's Facebook page.
Talbert wouldn't answer unless the same questions were put to the same him on Deplorable's website rather than the Facebook page.
Then he blocked us from commenting on anything on the Facebook page.
Now, that's transparency!
He's had two explanations for why he needs $100,000 of other people's money at his gofundme page- and it is, literally, his gofundme page. It's in his name. The money raised goes to him, personally. Neither explanation says what it is for, though.
"We plan on using the money for any legal means neseccery [sic] to insure that the hypocrisy is exposed and finally corrected," is as close as Mr Truth & Transparency can get to telling his donors what he will do- or is doing- with their money.
We called Deplorable Pride a scam on June 9 and we're sticking with it.
Donors seem to be figuring that out, too:
209 people have donated $7525 as of June 30: an average of $36 each.
To reach his goal, Talbert needs to light a fire under the voters who carried North Carolina for the President. Getting $100K by Pride Day will require getting 45 donors every day from now to August 26.
Of course, by then it will be too late. Talbert's made his own case for a court order to get into the parade moot.
People are starting to figure out who Brian Talbert is, too. In a June 29 article based on an interview, San Diego LGBT Weekly editor Steve Lee wrote of Deplorable Pride, "The group is led by Brian Talbert, who has used or promoted inflammatory language against Muslims, women, and even the LGBTQ community itself."
The only thing at which Brian Talbert has excelled in his first month as Tsar of All the Gay Republicans is getting publicity for Brian Talbert.
Deplorable Pride's website home page is nothing but a quote by right-wing screamer Tomi Lahren (who was actually writing about an unrelated issue at the San Francisco Pride Parade), the breathless declaration that after Charlotte's Fox News channel did a story, "then it went viral even trending on Google", and links to all of Talbert's interviews, pulled forward from the now-denuded News page.
Talbert's latest stunt is this giddy, slappy-clappy Facebook post on June 26:
That got the Mecklenburg County GOP to tell The Charlotte Observer, uh, yeah, we support the guy, uh, Turbot? Tallboy?
The Meck GOP is the party of former Governor Pat McCrory, who made HB2 the linchpin of his re-election campaign; Senator Dan Bishop, who wrote HB2; and former Senator Bob Rucho, whose surgically precise racial gerrymandering sent a bunch more Charlotte-area Republicans to Raleigh. All but one, Rep. Charles Jeter, voted for HB2, and he resigned his seat three months later to become a lobbyist.
The White House call came from the Office of Political Affairs, "which develops, supports, and advances partnerships in support of the President and his policy agenda."
It's a very odd place to call from, since the President's LGBT agenda is so relentlessly negative he refused to issue a proclamation naming June Gay Pride Month (alongside Ocean Month and National Home Ownership Month).
The office's director, Bill Stepien, is a former Chris Christie//Rudy Giuliani campaign manager. Christie nominated, and un-nominated, Stepien to chair the New Jersey GOP in over two days when it emerged Stepien was in on the Bridgegate Scandal by way of a secret affair with Bridget Kelly, who succeeded Stepien as Christie's deputy chief of staff. Stepien pled the 5th in the Bridgegate investigation but avoided indictment.
He's a protege' of President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who also won favor from the President's svengali, Steven Bannon.
Kushner, who grew up in New Jersey, admired the Bridgegate punishment, New York Magazine reports:
Kushner sent David Wildstein, the mastermind of the plot, that says, “For what it’s worth, I thought the move you pulled was kind of badass.”
"Office of Political Affairs" is a euphemism. Stepien held the same job for Chris Christie as Director of Governmental Relations. Politico wrote:
The Bridgegate trial revealed in remarkable detail how Christie’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs — what was, on paper, a liaison unit for local officials — was used as a political shop that dangled all sorts of “goodies” in front of mayors who were considered targets for endorsing the Republican’s reelection bid.
Initially under Stepien’s direction, the office worked furiously to gain the trust of politicians from both parties. Mayors in some of the smallest of towns were meant to feel special.
They were offered tickets to NFL games, breakfast with the governor, small grants from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and even steel recovered from the ashes of the World Trade Center, according to testimony and evidence from the trial. All the contacts the staffers had were meticulously logged in a spreadsheet on Google Docs, and the officials were ranked on a scale of 1-to-10 for the likelihood they would endorse Christie.
“He obviously honed his skills in the way politics was being practiced right here in New Jersey. And it was a very inappropriate atmosphere,” state Sen. Loretta Weinberg, a Democrat who investigated the lane closures, said of Stepien.Talbert's word is dubious even when it comes to earned media about himself. June 18, Talbert announced he was launching a weekly YouTube talk show.
The first program was set for June 26.
We got so excited, we completely forgot it.
Then it popped back into mind today, June 30. We clicked to the Deplorable Pride YouTube page:
Now, Brian Talbert says it's gonna be a podcast, featuring himself, of course:
And after a month of shaking down North Carolinians- albeit with minimal success- for money to bring Charlotte Pride to grovel before him for denying a float permit, what's Talbert's show gonna be about?
Next show's question:
They're proposing adding a black and brown stripe to the gay pride rainbow flag. What do you think about the idea?
But the Gofundme.com page is still up, slowly gathering dust.