Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump chimed in Thursday morning with his views on North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law, HB2, which among other things bans schools and public buildings from accommodating transgender individuals’ bathroom use. Perhaps surprising some, he came out against the law.
“North Carolina did something that was very strong,” Trump told Today, “and they’re paying a big price. There’s a lot of problems.”
The candidate said his preference would be to “leave it the way it is,” seemingly intending to say “was” or simply referring to how things are elsewhere. “There have been very few complaints the way it is. People go; they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate. There has been so little trouble.”
Trump said it wasn’t worth “what they’re going through with all the business that’s leaving, all of the strife,” noting the “economic punishment that they’re taking.”
He admitted he doesn’t know if he has any transgender people working in his organization, but acknowledged that if Caitlyn Jenner walked into Trump Tower, she’d be free to use whichever bathroom she feels most comfortable in. He also dismissed the need — and cost — of constructing new gender-neutral bathrooms.
In stark contrast, Trump’s primary opponent, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, actually defended HB2 last week. During an MSNBC town hall, he said, “As the father of daughters, I’m not terribly excited about men being able to go alone into a bathroom with my daughters, and I think that’s a perfectly reasonable determination for the people to make.”
Meanwhile, the economic consequences continue to mount in North Carolina. This week, the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce announced that another (unnamed) tech company had withdrawn plans to bring a 1,000-job expansion to the region’s Research Triangle area, which follows similar withdrawals from PayPal and Deutsche Bank. The state Convention and Visitors Bureau has reported over $3 million in lost revenues in the month since HB2 became law.
Ted Cruz has responded to Trump’s comments and was not subtle, asking, “Have we gone stark-raving nuts?”
— Patrick Svitek (@PatrickSvitek) April 21, 2016