After a few days off, the quote-a-coaster that is Donald Trump hit a high-speed downhill and then a couple of loops today. As with a lot of things he says, a certain amount of hysteria has popped up around it. The common take on it is that Trump opposes the North Carolina bathroom law. In reviewing his comments at the NBC Town Hall it is not entirely clear what he meant vis-a-vie North Carolina when he said “leave it the way it is.” Unfortunately the host interrupted his explanation and the thought was never brought full circle. But it seems to me that he has been slightly maligned on this topic as well as being guilty of not having the best prepared answer.
Trump on NBC Town Hall
At first Trump seemed to be complimentary of North Carolina because he said what they did was “very strong”. That could be conceived of as “bold” or “courageous”. He noted that they “are paying a big price and there’s a lot of problems”. What seemed to concern him was that there is “strife” on both sides of the issue since the state law has been passed. Apparently he wants to alleviate the strife by saying, “leave it the way it is”. But is he referring to the way it is at present? The state law has already been implemented which is what has caused the strife. That is the most natural way to understand “leave it the way it is”. However, if he meant to roll it back to its previous state before there was strife, Tammy Bruce on Fox Business Network, said that the previous state of the law would allow businesses to make their own decisions. Perhaps that is what Trump meant. He wants a restoration to the time of peace before the state government intervened to take away local decisions and made a universal law.
In addition to the financial hit that North Carolina is taking, Trump was also concerned that businesses not have any new burden placed on them. He did not want to see a requirement that special bathroom facilities be built to accommodate transgendered users. That would be too costly. So in the end he wants to leave things as they are/were.
At the end of the interview he was asked about Bruce Jenner’s transgendered persona, Caitlyn, hypothetically using the bathroom at Trump Tower. Trump would allow him to choose whichever bathroom he wanted to use. This would argue for the interpretation that local businesses or communities be allowed to make such decisions.
Trump on Hannity
On Sean Hannity’s show tonight, Trump clarified that this issue was not of great concern to him. More pressing issues like defeating ISIS occupied his mind. He also clearly said that transgendered bathroom issues should not be issues for the Federal government to decide. He stated that these matters should be left to the local communities and the states. He reinterated that his concern with the issue was that it was having a heavy economic impact on the state of North Carolina.
Analysis of Trump
Trump made a rookie mistake in even addressing this issue. Politically speaking, he should have said, “It is a state issue and we need to let the people in North Carolina handle it.” That way he does not have to take a stand one way or the other. Trump’s conservative supporters would have felt better about that answer than the one he gave. Some have suggested that maybe this was a play toward California and the other Northeastern states that are coming up to vote soon. Personally, I think that is being too smart by half. Imagining calculations like that seem almost conspiratorial to my way of thinking. I’m not persuaded that there was that much forethought that went into this answer. All too often politicians are tempted to answer these hot-button issues and Trump is not one to shy away from a topic just because it is controversial.
The clarification given on Hannity allows for the state or the local communities or businesses to make decisions about transgendered bathrooms. Well, that is exactly what North Carolina did. The city of Charlotte made a decision, the people in the state as a whole roused their politicians and they made a decision at the state level which overrode Charlotte. So while Trump is disturbed at the strife it caused, it is within the purview of his thought-world to let them make the “very strong” and costly decision that they did.
Trump, Activism, and the Flaw
The biggest flaw in Trump’s thinking is that there can be a negotiated peace with the LGBT activists. We will not be allowed to roll things back to the way they were. Trump is correct in that we haven’t had a lot of problems in the past. Transgendered people have been finding ways to use the bathroom and the rest of us have found ways with which to cope with it. It has not been a serious issue. But the activists in the LGBT community need another issue to push now that the oxymoronic same-sex marriage is behind them. Without an issue activists are nothing. Being that they are LGBT activists, their activism is going to focus around sexuality and breaking down any and every barrier to normalcy that they can. Putting men in women’s bathrooms is another weird, wacky, and dangerous thing that they can promote. It allows them to thwart basic human nature just as they did with same-sex marriage. It allows them to thwart basic societal standards of decency and chivalry. It allows them to continue their rants that the rest of us who are the vast, normal majority are actually bigots and sex-o-phobes or whatever term they may contrive to slander us. And let us not forget that it allows them to try to break down basic religious tenets on distinction between the sexes. Destroying religious values is always important to the activists since they are always promoting some level of perversity.
The Trump way of doing things has worked fine for us all along. What he proposed is nothing new or outrageous. It is what we could call the status quo. If the activists would leave us alone we could go back to the way things were where we all managed well enough. But they won’t and that is where Trump hasn’t quite thought this issue through far enough yet. He clearly has greater things to occupy his mental space as he ponders how to defeat ISIS, win the nomination, and win the presidency. In the meantime, the rest of us who aren’t so busy just want to keep men out of the same bathrooms with our wives and daughters. Carry on, Mr. Trump. We can take it from here.