President Donald Trump is expected to tap the leader of a national hate group to serve as Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues.
Penny Nance is president and CEO of Concerned Women for America (CWA), which is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
The stances Nance’s organization has taken seem to critics as counter-productive to the role she is expected to receive.
CWA is considered an anti-LGBT hate group that started out as an anti-feminist group. The group was founded in 1979 by Beverly Lahaye, who, according to SPLC, “has blamed gay people for a “radical leftist crusade” in America and, over the years, has occasionally equated homosexuality with pedophilia.”
“Today, CWA continues to make arguments against homosexuality on the basis of dubious claims,” SPLC said in a report. “[Former] President Wendy Wright said this August that gay activists were using same-sex marriage “to indoctrinate children in schools to reject their parents’ values and to harass, sue and punish people who disagree.”
Once a critic of the 45th president, calling the choice between Trump and Hillary Clinton “horrible for conservative women,” Nance has done a political 180, and now is a trusted confidante of the commander in chief.
“I am thrilled to have been wrong about this. Donald Trump has turned out to be a real champion for life and for families and we are very thankful,” Nance told a Fox News correspondent this past spring.
She is known for her criticism of the popular Disney film “Frozen.” According to Nance, “Frozen”’s portrayal of male characters as villains and fools makes moms’ jobs telling their sons they are essential a much more laborious task.
“We want to raise heroes,” she said on Fox. “We want to raise real men who will stick in their families and be great dads and great providers and great husbands.”
She said it was great that films empower women, but it shouldn’t come “at the cost of tearing down men.”
The idea that she would even be interested in this position might come as a surprise since her own nonprofit once referred to the State Department’s Office on Global Women’s Issues as “a wasteful and unnecessary idea.”
In an op-ed in The Washington Times in 2013, Nance rejected the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, calling it “a bad bill that hurts sex-trafficking victims, seeks to legalize prostitution for minors and fails to protect the consciences of organizations, such as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, that oppose abortion but want to protect trafficking victims.”
Although she cites cuts to the budget as reasons for opposing the 2013 bill to amend the Violence Against Women Act, it is believed she took issue with the bill’s extended coverage to protect transgender people, same-sex female couples and immigrants.
While Nance has dedicated her professional life to protect certain pockets of women, leading women groups have spoken out against the nomination. Dawn Laguens, executive vice president for Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said of the Nance nomination, “This would be putting an arsonist in charge of the fire department.”
Further, Laguens said in a press release:
“From day one, the Trump administration has put women’s health and rights squarely in its crosshairs. Trump is stacking his administration with officials who are fundamentally opposed to women’s health and rights, who don’t believe in birth control, and go so far as to hold a minor hostage in order to prevent her from seeking a legal abortion. The millions of vulnerable women and girls across the globe deserve an Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues who will support and respect them, not an ideologue who is actively complicit in undermining their human rights.”
Erin Vilardi, founder and CEO of VoteRunLead, an organization dedicated to educating and putting into political office diverse women, called a Nance appointment an “oxymoron,” according to Bustle.
“When you have a particular agency that’s supposed to expand women’s rights, and you end up putting someone in who’s very restrictive about what women can choose for their bodies and their lifestyles and who they can love, it’s one of those anomalies,” Vilardi told Bustle.