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DeSantis Campaign Hits Trump for Previously Backing Transgender Inclusion

DeSantis Campaign Hits Trump for Previously Backing Transgender Inclusion

Former President Donald Trump is being attacked by the campaign of rival Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis for previously defending a transgender woman.

The “DeSantis War Room” Twitter account, which is run by the Florida governor’s campaign, on Friday lashed out at Trump for making a series of trans-inclusive comments years before becoming president and roughly a decade before anti-transgender rhetoric became wildly popular among Republicans.

The DeSantis campaign shared a CNN article published on the same day that pointed out Trump’s history of “repeatedly’ celebrating the inclusion of Miss Universe Canada contestant Jenna Talackova in 2012. At the time, the then-future president was the owner of the Miss Universe pageants.

Trump, who has more recently spoken against transgender rights and promised to fight “gender ideology” if elected in 2024, reportedly told CNN in 2012 that he personally changed the rules of Miss Universe to allow for transgender contestants to compete alongside cisgender women.

Former President Donald Trump, then the 2016 GOP nominee, is pictured holding an “LGBT for Trump” flag during a campaign event in Greeley, Colorado, on October 30, 2016. The campaign of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Trump’s 2024 GOP rival, recently lashed out against the former president for previously not misgendering transgender women and for speaking in favor of transgender inclusion.
Chip Somodevilla

The DeSantis War Room account ripped Trump for praising 2012 Miss USA winner Olivia Culpo’s argument that transgender women should be allowed compete because “there are so many surgeries and so many people out there who have a need to change for a happier life.”

“FLASHBACK TO 2012 This is Donald Trump — as the owner of Miss Universe — celebrating the winner for publicly supporting his decision to allow … a biological male to compete,” the DeSantis War Room account tweeted while sharing a clip of Trump praising Culpo’s remarks on Fox News. “[Trump said] ‘She gave a great answer and she really did a great job.’”

The Florida governor’s campaign then shared a clip of Trump discussing the topic with Fox News host Jeanine Pirro in 2012, when he defended transgender inclusion by citing Olympics rules, which allow transgender athletes to compete depending on specific criteria that include hormone levels.

“This is a young woman who, according to the laws of Canada and according to the laws of the United States, is allowed to enter the pageant system,” Trump said at the time. “I said, ‘let her run.’ And maybe she’ll win. And if she wins, she’ll go to Miss Universe. And I think I made the right decision, I feel fine with the decision.”

“In another interview, Trump justified letting ‘this young woman’ compete based on the Olympics allowing biological males to compete with women,” the DeSantis campaign tweeted while sharing the clip.

The DeSantis campaign went on to blast Trump for referring to Talackova with female pronouns on multiple occasions. Trump also wished Talackova “good luck” in an April 2012 tweet, which drew no controversy at the time.

“It will be interesting to see how Jenna Talackova does as Miss Universe Canada,” Trump tweeted. “We all wish her luck.”


DeSantis, who has recently promoted a series of bills intended to roll back transgender rights in his home state, was then featured in a video clip shared by his campaign, which showed him referring to transgender women as men who “dress up” as women and arguing that it would be a “lie” to use their preferred pronouns.

Trump seemingly took aim at DeSantis in a speech this month for constantly using the word “woke” when discussing “culture war” issues like transgender rights. The former president argued that “half the people” who use the term do not even know what it means.

During the same speech, Trump acknowledged that using anti-transgender rhetoric was highly effective in gaining favor with Republican audiences in the current political climate.

“It’s amazing how strongly people feel about that. You see, I’m talking about cutting taxes, people go like that,” Trump said while making a muted applause gesture.


“I talk about transgender, everyone goes crazy,” he continued. “Who would have thought? Five years ago, you didn’t know what the hell it was.”

Newsweek has reached out to the office of Trump via email for comment.


Published: 2023-06-17 04:50:50


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