Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said that transgender people should be able to use the public restroom of their choice and argued that North Carolina's law banning that freedom was unnecessary and hurtful to the state's economy.
“North Carolina did something that was very strong and they're paying a big price” Trump said on "The Today Show," referring to the numerous economic boycotts companies have made against the state to protest the law. “There's a lot of problems.”
In March, a bipartisan group of North Carolina lawmakers passed a law that prohibits transgender people from using a public restroom in a public building of a sex that doesn't correspond to their birth gender. The law also prohibits local governments from enacting anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity, according to Reuters.
But the most attention has been focused on the bathroom aspect of the law, and many companies and performing artists have boycotted North Carolina as a form of protest. Big-name acts like Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam have refused to perform concerts there, and PayPal canceled a plan to open a facility in Charlotte that would have created 400 jobs.
“The new law perpetuates discrimination, and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture,” PayPal CEO Dan Schulman said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “As a result, PayPal will not move forward with our planned expansion into Charlotte.”
And Trump said the ripple effects have not been worth the cost to fix a problem that was never serious to begin with.
"There have been very few complaints the way it is. People go. They use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate," Trump said on "The Today Show." "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."
Trump was then asked if he had transgender people working at any of his companies.
"I really don't know. I probably do. I really don't know," Trump said, adding that he would let transgender celebrity Caitlyn Jenner use whatever bathroom she wanted at one of his hotels.
But Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, fighting Trump for the GOP nod, tweeted his disagreement with the real estate tycoon.
“We shouldn't be facilitating putting little girls alone in a bathroom w/ grown men. That's just a bad, bad, bad idea,” Cruz wrote.