Donald Trump's shockingly offensive statements have received no shortage of attention, from labeling Mexican immigrants as drug dealers and rapists to his opinion that the United States should murder the families of terrorists. But it's equally shocking when the presumptive Republican nominee breaks with his party line in the progressive direction of the political spectrum. In April, Trump spoke out against North Carolina's House Bill 2 (HB2), the legislation that made it illegal for trans people to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. However, since then, Trump has weakened his stance on trans rights, indicating that, as president, he would not push for trans protections on the federal level.
Trump said in an interview on Today in response to a question about HB2, "People go; they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate. There has been so little trouble," adding that things should be left as they were. This was in stark contrast to most Republican politicians' reactions to the legislation; Trump's position even led Sen. Ted Cruz to accuse the bombastic frontrunner of political correctness, Think Progress reported.
Trump told Today that Caitlyn Jenner — who has endorsed Trump for the Republican nomination — could use whichever bathroom in Trump Tower she so chooses (which she totally then did).
But Trump's personal feelings about the state's law don't translate to a willingness to reverse it. In a May 13 interview with Good Morning America, Trump said regarding the North Carolina legislation: "I believe it should be states' rights and I think the states should make the decision, they're more capable of making the decision," The Hill reported. This suggests that, were he actually president, Trump would discontinue the directive released by Barack Obama's administration on Friday, which guides schools to allow students to use gendered facilities and participate on sports teams that align with their gender identity.
However, we should keep in mind that Trump isn't the most consistent character when it comes to policy positions. And these remarks come at a time when he's eager to unite the Republican establishment behind him — he'll need them for endorsements and fundraising purposes if he is to have any real shot at winning the general election. His remarks could be more an act of appeasement to his not-so-fellow Republicans than anything else.
With Trump, you never really know. But it was refreshing, at least, to see The Donald shock in a more progressive direction — albeit disappointing to see him attenuate his supportive stance on trans rights soon after.