Donald Trump made a very un-Republican statement about transgender bathroom use during an April 21 town-hall appearance in Manhattan. The event was hosted by NBC's Today at the Rockefeller Center, reports The New York Times. During the interview, Republican front-runner Donald Trump was asked his opinion about North Carolina's controversial new HB2, which requires that people in the state use only the public restroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate. Nicknamed the "bathroom bill," the anti-transgender legislation has resulted in multiple businesses, artists and other individuals boycotting the state.
Donald Trump shocked those in attendance and the uber-conservative GOP with his answer. In fact, Donald Trump very publicly took a stand on the controversial and hotly debated issue that flies directly in the face of what most social conservatives believe. According to Trump's response during the New York town-hall, people should simply "use the bathroom they feel is appropriate." The Donald went on to directly comment on the situation currently unfolding in North Carolina.
"North Carolina did something — it was very strong — and they're paying a big price. And there's a lot of problems. And I heard — one of the best answers I heard was from a commentator yesterday saying, leave it the way it is, right now.According to Donald Trump, before the new "bathroom bill" was passed in North Carolina, the state experienced "very few problems" relating to transgender citizens using the public restrooms of their choosing. However, the candidate went on to say that since the anti-LGBT "bathroom bill" was passed, the state has seen an "exodus of business and strife" from people on both sides of the contentious issue. As such, Donald Trump had a few more words of wisdom to add to his answer.
"You leave it the way it is. There have been very few complaints the way it is."In addition to banning transgender citizens from using the bathroom of their choice, the new North Carolina law also strips the LGBT community of anti-discrimination protection in the state and even prevents municipalities from passing laws to protect the LGBT citizens of the state from being discriminated against.During the town-hall, Donald Trump said that he didn't know if his organization employs any transgender individuals, but admits, "I probably do." He clarified his answer by saying that if Caitlyn Jenner visited Trump Tower, he would be comfortable with her using the bathroom of her choice, whatever that may be.
Not surprisingly, Donald Trump's GOP rival, Ted Cruz, used Donald Trump's candid answer about transgender bathrooms to attack his political opponent. During both a Maryland rally and an interview on super-conservative Glenn Beck's radio show, Cruz took the opportunity to attack Donald Trump for his progressive beliefs about transgender bathroom use.
"My five-year-old knows the difference between boys and girls. That's not a reasonable position. It is simply crazy. The idea that grown men would be allowed alone in a bathroom with little girls — you don't need to be a behavioral psychologist to realize bad things can happen and any prudent person wouldn't allow that...have we gone stark-raving nuts?"Cruz then took to social media to further criticize Donald Trump's comments, blasting the GOP presidential front-runner on Twitter. Facing an enormous conservative backlash from both his political rivals and potential voter base, Donald Trump abruptly amended his stance on the transgender bathroom issue less than a day after saying that the laws should remain the way that Caitlyn Jenner could use whatever bathroom she felt comfortable with if she visited Trump Tower. As CBS News reports, Donald Trump tweaked his official opinion ever-so-slightly during a Fox News evening interview, also on April 21.
When host Sean Hannity asked The Donald about the North Carolina anti-LGBT "bathroom bill" and transgender bathroom use in general, Trump had a different answer than the one he gave at the town-hall less than 24 hours prior.
"I love North Carolina, and they have a law, and it's a law that, you know, unfortunately is causing them some problems. And I fully understand that they want to go through, but they are losing business, and they are having people come out against.Hannity then asked Donald Trump to clarify that he meant that transgender bathroom rights should be left to be decided by the states, to which Trump replied, "Yeah, let them decide. Absolutely."
I think that local communities and states should make the decision. And I feel very strongly about that. The federal government should not be involved."
Trump wasn't pressed to explain the disparity in his answers to the same question during two different interviews.
Currently, Donald Trump leads in the GOP primary delegate count, but Senator Ted Cruz is catching up, and as the primary season continues, it's looking less and less likely that any Republican candidate will reach the 1,237 delegates required to secure the party's presidential nomination. If no Republican candidate emerges from the primaries as a decisive winner, the party will have a brokered convention, which could prevent Donald Trump from running for president on the Republican ticket as he's alienated so many in the Republican party. In recent days, Trump has promised to adopt a more "presidential" campaign tone as the end of the primary election looms.
What do you think? Does Trump truly believe that states should be able to pass legislation denying transgender people the right to access the public bathroom they identify with? Or, as he initially claimed, does Donald Trump believe that the nation's bathroom laws should be left alone and that people should be allowed to use the bathroom they feel most comfortable using?
[Image Courtesy Of Spencer Platt/Getty Images]