Trump made the reversal Thursday evening during an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, who asked the Republican presidential candidate to clarify his views on transgender people following his remarks on NBC’s “Today Show” against North Carolina’s House Bill 2.
“There’s a small number, but we have to take care of everybody, frankly,” Trump said. “And North Carolina, which is a great place, which I won by the way. I love North Carolina. And they have a law. It’s a law that’s unfortunately causing them some problems, and I fully understand if they want to go through, but they are losing business, and they are having a lot of people come out against.”
After repeating his observation the North Carolina law has resulted in business problems for the state, Trump continued to say states should decide the issue of transgender rights and the federal government shouldn’t get involved.
“With me, I look at it differently, a community whether it’s North Carolina or a local communities, really, they should be involved,” Trump said. “We have so many issues to be thinking about, Sean. We have ISIS to worry about. We have bringing trade back. We have rebuilding our military. But I think this: I think local communities and states should make the decision, and I feel very strongly about that, the federal government should not be involved.”
Asked by Hannity whether the candidate’s view on anti-trans laws is similar to his position on education, which includes abolishing the Department of Education and returning authority to the states, Trump replied, “Yeah. Let them decide. Absolutely.”
Trump’s view stands in contrast to the Department of Education under the Obama administration, which has enforced the prohibition on gender discrimination in Title IX of Education Amendments of 1972 to apply to transgender students and requiring schools to allow them to use bathrooms consistent with gender identity. Earlier this week, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled barring transgender students from using the bathroom they choose is inconsistent with Title IX, dealing a blow to the North Carolina law.
The candidate makes the reversal after his rival for the Republican nomination, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), criticized him for making initial comments against House Bill 2. Cruz said Trump’s views, incorrectly, amount to allowing men into women’s bathrooms. Also on Thursday, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) refused comment on anti-LGBT laws in North Carolina and Mississippi, but cited the importance of “religious conscience.”
Watch the video here (Trump’s comments start at 2:00)
h/t The Daily Beast