Donald Trump

Trump Flip-Flops, Now Supports North Carolina's Transgender Bathroom Regulations

Make America ¯_(?)_/¯ Again.


David Bro/ZUMA Press/Newscom

There was a time when Donald Trump actually resisted the siren song of populist culture war backlashes. Back in April, Trump said he disagreed with the part of North Carolina's legislation that monitored public bathroom use and required transgender people to use the gender on their birth certificate in government and school restrooms.

At the time, Trump said, "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."

But never mind that. Asked about it again by a reporter at a rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, Trump has switched to support North Carolina passing the law, based apparently on what appears to be federalist-style accommodation:

"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."

HB2 is about more than transgender bathroom use. That component gets the most attention, though it's probably the part of the law that is utterly unenforceable as a practical matter, regardless of whether it should be mandated. The law also overturns municipal level antidiscrimination ordinances that expand the classes that may be protected that aren't already included in state law (not just transgender people, but gay and lesbian people). This was all a backlash against the City of Charlotte expanding its antidiscrimination ordinances.

The Washington Blade says that he had already previously flip-flopped, but it apparently didn't get much attention back then. He previously said that "local communities and states should make the decision." That's an interesting choice of words because there's a conflict here over whether communities or the state should be able to control antidiscrimition laws and minimum wage levels within their respective borders. North Carolina's legislators are telling Charlotte what kind of laws it may pass. On the other hand, really, Trump is probably just saying here that it's not a matter for the federal government to get involved at all.

But where things stand, the federal government is very much involved. The Department of Justice has asked a federal judge this week to suspend the implementation of the law while the government fights it with the claim it's violating the civil rights of LGBT citizens. There are at least five federal lawsuits now, both in support and opposition, related to implementing HB2. So his response suggests that a DOJ under his administration might pull back.