April 22, 2016 at 11:00 am EDT | by Chris Johnson
Trump backtracks on North Carolina anti-LGBT law

Donald Trump, D.C. Republican straw poll, gay news, Washington Blade

Donald Trump has backtracked on North Carolina’s House Bill 2. (Photo by Andy Katz; courtesy Bigstock)

Less than 24 hours after making comments against North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law, Donald Trump has backtracked and said “local communities and states should make the decision” on whether transgender people should be able to use restrooms consistent with their gender identity.

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

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • tonyinstpete

    This isn’t the first time Trump has changed his mind in 24 hours in response to criticism from the Republican far right. After all, he doesn’t have the nomination yet!. However, his answer was really nonsense. He now suggests that “local communities” as well as states should make the decision about restrooms. If he really believes that, he should continue to be against SB 2 in North Carolina.

    It was North Carolina’s new law that empowered the state to strip away the local anti discrimination ordinances that many of North Carolina’s larger cities and university towns had enacted. That’s hardly local control! Just another example of total Republican hypocrisy on the matter of federal vs. state vs. local power.

    • Eric

      States are sovereign, localities with States are not.

      • tonyinstpete

        States are not really the final sovereign. I think the Civil War pretty much settled that the federal government is with regard to Constitutional Rights. If the state’s won’t act to protect LGBT rights, that’s why we need a national ENDA enacted.

  • labman57

    Trump will no doubt blame the media for misrepresenting his statements, or blame his earpiece, or blame the person conducting the interview, or …

    Reality check: Donald’s public policy comments continue to amount to little more than “white noise”.

  • GayEGO

    No surprise here. Trump flip flops on issues constantly. He spoke positively in support of Elton John and his partner’s marriage. He says whatever he thinks is necessary to win, just like a car salesman selling a car.

  • Sean J. Chadwick

    Hi my name is Sean Chadwick, and I enjoy reading the Washington Blade’s engaging articles on a wide variety of topics. In addition, I praise the high quality and professionalism of your publication as well. That said, in your April 22, 2016 edition’s article about Donald Trump’s latest comments, I noticed a typo accidentally missed by your editorial staff. The typo is that in the article US House Speaker, Paul Ryan is listed as a (R – N.C.). However, Speaker Ryan is from Wisconsin, not North Carolina.

    Sean J. Chadwick

    • Chris Johnson

      Thanks. We corrected the error.

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