US President Donald Trump reportedly once joked that Vice President Mike Pence "wants to hang" all gay people, but Twitter isn't laughing. According to an in-depth profile of Pence published on Monday (16 October) by The New Yorker, titled "The Danger of President Pence", Trump reportedly joked about Pence's views on LGBTQ rights and opposition to abortion during a meeting with a legal scholar.
After the legal scholar told the two leaders that many states would likely legalise abortion if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Trump reportedly said to Pence, "You see? You've wasted all this time and energy on it, and it's not going to end abortion anyway."
When the meeting turned to focus on gay rights, Trump apparently motioned towards Pence and joked, "Don't ask that guy – he wants to hang them all!"
Trump and Pence have yet to comment on the report. In a statement to The Indianapolis Star, the vice president's spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said the story contained false statements.
"Articles like this are why the American people have lost so much faith in the press," Farah said in a statement to the paper. "The New Yorker piece is filled with unsubstantiated, unsourced claims that are untrue and offensive."
Twitter, on the other hand, erupted with outrage and horror over the reported joke, saying it was "far from funny."
The Human Rights Campaign called Trump's reported joke "evil", while singer Josh Groban simply tweeted, "What the f**k."
"Trump's joke about Pence wanting to hang LGBTQ people is beyond disgusting," Adam Best tweeted. "It also reveals that even Trump sees Pence's views as extremist."
Singer Jack Antonoff tweeted, "A lot of fatigue going on but Trump joking about Pence hanging gay people is beyond. Impeach."
Star Trek star George Takei wrote, "Not sure what's more disturbing, that Donald would joke about such a thing or that he would pick a man with these views as his number 2."