Donald Trump has repeatedly contradicted himself on many issues on the campaign trail. So while he was on Jimmy Kimmel's show on Wednesday, Kimmel tried to get some clarity on one of of those issues: transgender people and bathrooms.
It did not go well. Here is the transcript:
KIMMEL: You believe that transgender people should be able to use whatever bathroom they want to, which is contrary to what a lot of people, most people in your party believe. Why do you think people are focused on that?
TRUMP: What really I'm saying is — and I think it's pretty simple — let the states decide. And, you know, we have to protect everybody. It's a very, very small group. Right now, it's a very small group. Perhaps it's getting larger.
KIMMEL: But would you say, though, if you were voting personally, a member in New York state, that you would vote for that right?
TRUMP: Well, the party generally believes that whatever you're born, that's the bathroom you use.
KIMMEL: But what about you?
TRUMP: Me? I say let the states decide.
KIMMEL: Do you personally support it? I think you do.
TRUMP: No. What I support is let the states decide. And I think the states will do hopefully the right thing.
KIMMEL: And what's the right thing?
TRUMP: I don't know yet. I mean, I don't know. Honestly, I don't know.
Trump's position here simply makes no sense. He says we have to protect everybody, but then suggests that he doesn't know if he wants to protect trans people's right to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. He also says that the states should decide the issue, but doesn't explain how he would vote at the state level if given the option. Then he says he doesn't know the right solution, despite saying before that he would let trans people use the bathroom for their gender identity at Trump Tower. The whole thing is just going in circles without any clarity.
The simple explanation here is that Trump's genuine belief — trans people should be able to use the bathroom for their gender identity — goes against what most of his Republican base believes, and he knows it. So like many politicians who've invoked the idea of states' rights to get away from claiming a clear stance — such as Hillary Clinton on same-sex marriage in 2006 — he's just saying "let the states decide" over and over without any clear hint of what that means.