- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 21, 2016

GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Thursday came out against a North Carolina law barring people from using the public restrooms of the opposite sex.

Mr. Trump said the state is “paying a big price” from those in the business community who say the law discriminates against transgender people. He said the state should have left the situation “the way it is.”

“There have been very few complaints the way it is,” Mr. Trump said. “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. So I would say that’s probably the best way.”

Asked by host Matt Lauer to clarify if he would be fine with celebrity Caitlyn Jenner, a transgender woman, using the women’s restrooms at Trump Tower, the businessman said, “That is correct.”

Mr. Trump also rejected an idea to create a separate bathroom for transgender people, saying it would be “discriminatory in a certain way” and too expensive.

“That would be unbelievably expensive for businesses in the country,” he said. “Leave it the way it is.”

Ricky Diaz, spokesman for North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, disputed Mr. Trump’s suggestion that the law disrupted the established order. He said the measure was passed in response to a Charlotte city ordinance forcing businesses to allow restroom access on the basis of gender identity.

“Governor McCrory has always said that North Carolina was getting along fine before the Charlotte city council passed its unneeded and overreaching ordinance,” Mr. Diaz said in a statement. “Now that it has been overturned, businesses can adopt their own policies — like Target has — instead of being mandated to allow men into women’s restrooms by government.

“Where the governor disagrees with Mr. Trump is that bathroom and shower facilities in our schools should be kept separate and special accommodations made when needed,” he said. “It’s just common sense.”

• Bradford Richardson can be reached at brichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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