Donald Trump apparently endorsed late Tuesday the recently enacted anti-LGBT law in North Carolina, saying he’s “with the state” on the controversial statute.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee made the remarks in response to a question from the Charlotte News & Observer following a campaign event he held in Raleigh.
“I’m going with the state,” Trump said. “The state, they know what’s going on, they see what’s happening and generally speaking I’m with the state on things like this. I’ve spoken with your governor, I’ve spoken with a lot of people and I’m going with the state.”
Signed by Gov. Pat McCrory in March, House Bill rescinded all pro-LGBT city non-discrimination ordinances in North Carolina, including one recently approved in Charlotte, and prohibits transgender people from using the restroom in schools and government building consistent with their gender identity.
The candidate’s comments come after he maintained he’d be superior on LGBT rights to his rival Hillary Clinton as president and urged people to “ask the gays” which candidate is better.
JoDee Winterhof, the Human Rights Campaign’s senior vice president for policy and political affairs, said Trump’s support for the anti-LGBT law demonstrates the danger of candidacy.
“Let’s be clear, Donald Trump just gave one of the nation’s worst laws for LGBTQ people a full-throated endorsement,” Winterhof said. “By buddying up with Gov. Pat McCrory on the deeply discriminatory HB 2, Donald Trump is unabashedly embracing a dangerous law that takes away the civil rights of LGBTQ people and has cost North Carolina not only its reputation but millions of dollars in economic losses.”
Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality North Carolina, said voters must reject at the polls in November the “ill-informed discrimination” Trump endorsed.
“Donald Trump’s garbled comments on HB2, the worst anti-LGBT law in the nation, show that he does not grasp the issues critical to the state of North Carolina,” Sgro said. “Over and over, he has shown himself to be unqualified as a presidential candidate, and no friend to gay and transgender people. We must resoundingly reject his ill-informed discrimination in November.”
Previously, Trump has been on both sides of House Bill 2. In April, Trump came out against the law during an appearance on NBC’s “Today Show,” saying transgender people should “use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate.” But less than 24 hours later on Fox News, Trump reversed himself and said “local communities and states should make the decision” on transgender bathroom use.
Meanwhile, President Obama and Hillary Clinton held a campaign event in Charlotte on the same day, marking the first-time ever Obama has publicly campaigned with Clinton for her 2016 campaign. Although both Obama and Clinton have previously expressed opposition to North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law, at no time during the event did either articulate their position on the statute.
Under questioning from the Washington Blade, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest referenced ongoing litigation Wednesday when asked if Obama missed an opportunity by not asking speaking out against the North Carolina anti-LGBT law in Charlotte.
“This is a matter that is being considered by legal authorities in the administration, so that certainly contributed to the president’s decision not to raise it in public yesterday,” Earnest said.
Late Tuesday, the U.S. Justice Department, which filed in May a lawsuit against House Bill 2, made a filing in federal court seeking a preliminary injunction barring North Carolina from enforcing the anti-LGBT law.
Earnest said he “does not have a reaction” to Trump saying he’s a friend to the LGBT community and also “with the state” on House Bill 2.
The Clinton campaign didn’t respond to the Washington Blade’s request to comment on why the candidate didn’t articulate her opposition to House Bill 2 at the Charlotte event or Trump’s endorsement of the law.