Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) in October remarks said Ugandan leaders, including President Yoweri Museveni, should “stand firm” in the face of international outrage over the passage of a law criminalizing same-sex conduct, including potentially the death penalty for individuals convicted of “aggravated homosexuality.”
“Whose side do we want to be on?” Walberg asked during Uganda’s National Prayer Breakfast on Oct. 8. “God’s side. Not the World Bank; not the United States of America necessarily; not the U.N. God’s side.”
“Your esteemed president, his excellency President Museveni, needs a nation that stands with him and says, though the rest of the world is pushing back on you, though there are other major countries that are trying to get into you and ultimately change you, stand firm,” Walberg added.
Museveni, who signed Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act in May, later said Walberg’s remarks show there are Americans who “think like us.”
Homosexuality was already illegal in Uganda, but the new law’s harsh penalties have drawn widespread condemnation from human rights groups and international political leaders on both sides of the aisle. In June, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) called the law “horrific & wrong.”
Walberg’s remarks, which were first reported by TYT, have also drawn swift outrage, which the congressman during the October event said he anticipated.
“This will probably get back to the national media in the United States, and I expect some pushback,” Walberg said at the time. “But I’m not going to give in.”
Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.), one of 11 openly LGBTQ members of Congress, in a Thursday post on X, formerly known as Twitter, called Walberg’s support of the Uganda law “disgusting.”
“News that House Republican Tim Walberg traveled to Uganda to support their anti-gay bill, including the death penalty, is disgusting,” Garcia wrote. “Tim, do you think the government should execute me and my 11 fellow gay Members of Congress because we are LGBTQ?”
Walberg’s office said reports that characterized his remarks as support for the law were inaccurate.
“Congressman Walberg never endorsed any legislation or law while in Uganda,” his office said in an emailed statement.
“He did call out the World Bank for repeatedly holding Uganda, a Christian nation, to a different standard than much of the rest of the world,” the statement continued. “There is an undeniable double standard where other nations, like Afghanistan, receive uncriticized support from the World Bank. Global organizations, like the World Bank, should adhere to their mission and fiduciary duty to help bring economic prosperity to developing countries.”
“This is just one example of a growing trend of global organizations abandoning their duties and missions to pursue a political agenda and Congressman Walberg will continue to speak against this trend, even when it comes with gross mischaracterizations and inaccuracies,” his office said.
— Updated at 12:25 p.m.
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