Given that Donald Trump has thus far presented a fairly incoherent policy platform, it shouldn’t be surprising that he occasionally espouses a position progressives can appreciate. On an NBC Today town hall early Thursday, Trump responded to a question about North Carolina’s embattled anti-LGBT law—most reviled for the component that bans transgender people from the bathroom comporting with their gender identity—by saying that he didn’t think the measure was necessary.
“North Carolina did something that was very strong, and they’re paying a big price and there’s a lot of problems,” Trump told NBC’s Willie Geist, who had relayed the question from Twitter user Jessica Hershey. The GOP front-runner continued:
North Carolina, what they are going through with all of the business that’s leaving and all of the strife—and that’s on both sides. You leave it the way it is. 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 that they’re taking.
Though his tenses were somewhat confusing, Trump was clearly suggesting that HB2 and other “bathroom bills” like it create problems (especially in the form of businesses abandoning your state en masse) where there were none. This picks up on the practical view that trans people have been using the bathroom alongside cisgender folks forever with little issue—and when there were problems, it was the trans individual who was at risk of violence. Of course, Trump’s leave-it-alone approach ignores the need for legal protections against anti-LGBTQ discrimination, but at least he’s against making life harder than it already is.
After a follow-up from Matt Lauer about whether he had trans employees—Trump wasn’t sure—the candidate confirmed that should a trans person like Caitlyn Jenner come to Trump Tower, she would be allowed the use the bathroom of her choice. Trump ended the exchange by characterizing new gender-neutral bathrooms—which some have advanced as a compromise solution—as “discriminatory” in their own way, not to mention being “unbelievably expensive for businesses and for the country.”
“Leave it the way it is,” he concluded.