WATCH: Donald Trump Criticizes North Carolina’s HB 2 During Town Hall EventBy Megan Clayton • April 21, 2016 • 2:50 pm
Just how extreme is North Carolina’s anti-LGBT House Bill 2? Today, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump came out strongly against the law when he was asked about it during a segment on NBC’s Today show.
Trump questioned the need for such legislation, noting there had been no threats to public safety or demand for such a law prior to its passage on March 23. He highlighted the fact that North Carolina has now thrown itself into economic turmoil in the wake of HB 2’s passage, and even went so far as to affirm that transgender people should be able to use the restroom consistent with their gender identity:
“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. And the problem with what happened in North Carolina is the strife and the economic punishment they’re taking. North Carolina did something that was very strong, and they’re paying a big price. And there’s a lot of problems. Leave it the way it is. North Carolina, what they’re going through, with all of the business and all of the strife—and that’s on both sides—you leave it the way it is.
He also said specifically that he would not condone anti-trans discrimination in his own properties, specifically Trump Tower, which is located in New York.
Trump’s comments were in response to a tweet read by Today co-host Willie Geist during a question-and-answer session that was part of a live town hall event hosted by the morning show. It read: “Mr. Trump, please be specific. Tell us your views on LGBT, how you plan to be inclusive as president. Speak about North Carolina bathroom law in particular.”
North Carolina’s HB 2 stripped municipalities in North Carolina of the ability to establish LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination protections and mandated that transgender North Carolinians could not use public restrooms that correspond with their gender identity. Since the law was passed on March 23, businesses, public figures and advocacy groups around the nation have condemned it.
Lately, the backlash has reached a tipping point. Major companies like Paypal and Deutsche Bank have pulled thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of investment from the state. In Charlotte alone, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority announced that the city had lost $86 million in tourism and convention cancelations over the last month due to House Bill 2. In April alone, Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Boston and Mumford & Sons have all canceled concerts in North Carolina to protest the law.
The North Carolina General Assembly is officially back in session on Monday. As these economic sanctions ratchet up, there is a growing bipartisan effort to push lawmakers and Governor Pat McCrory to repeal the law as a first order of business.