The former president joked that, as the coach of a women’s sports team, he would only recruit transgender athletes. “If I were a coach, I wouldn’t be talking to too many women as we know women,” he said. “I’d be getting some of these people that … they’re ‘women.'”
Trump then suggested that James might eventually choose to transition. “Somebody said that if LeBron James ever decided to get the operation, how would he be on the court? How would he be?” he mused.
James identifies as male and has never publicly expressed a desire to undergo gender confirmation surgery.
“LeBron James, you can have him,” Trump continued before further mocking the basketball player. “Did you see the basketball ratings that were terrible? They went up after his team was defeated.”
This isn’t the first time that the former president has taken aim at James. Trump called him “racist” and “divisive” after the Los Angeles Lakers star tweeted a response to the police killing of Ohio teenager Ma’Khia Bryant in April.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Tuesday banning transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports in high school and college on the first day of LGBTQ+ Pride Month.
The “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” which was introduced by GOP state Sen. Travis Hutson in February, designates teams “on the basis of students’ biological sex at birth,” meaning transgender girls whose birth certificate says “male” as their biological sex are not allowed to participate in girls’ sports teams.
The law also expressly prohibits those whose “biological sex” on their birth certificate denotes male from participating in girls’ sports, but those whose “biological sex” is noted as female can play in boys’ sports.
When asked if there was a meaning behind signing the bill on June 1 ahead of its June 12 deadline, DeSantis said: “It’s not a message to anything other than saying we’re going to protect fairness and women’s sports.” The legislation goes into effect on July 1.
“We believe in the state of Florida protecting the fairness and integrity of women’s athletics,” DeSantis said at an event at the Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville. “I can tell you that in Florida, girls are going to play girls’ sports and boys are going to play boys’ sports.”
Supporters of the legislation say the act eliminates an unfair biological advantage by prohibiting transgender girls from competing in girls’ sports.
“We all know that men are stronger than women,” GOP state Sen. Kelli Stargel said at the Jacksonville event, which also featured a video of a track athlete who sued over transgender girls competing in high school girls’ sports.
Stargel, who championed the sports legislation, said in response: “When you’re looking at that video, it’s evident the woman, the transgender woman who competed, or self-identified woman, ran very differently than the others in the competition. It’s physiologically different. Men are stronger, they have bigger lung capacity, stronger muscles.”
Critics – including Stargel’s daughter Laura – said the legislation discriminates against transgender athletes and could have a negative impact on their mental and emotional wellbeing.
“Excluding transgender children from sports will exacerbate feelings of discrimination and severely impact their mental and physical health,” Laura Stargel wrote in an op-ed published in the Orlando Sentinel.
“I played sports all throughout middle, high school and college,” she added. “Not once did I stop to consider what gender my teammates were assigned at birth.”
Democratic lawmakers in the state also condemned DeSantis’ decision to sign the bill.
“This is yet another hate-driven attack from the governor and Republican legislators, and it’s insulting that they’ve staged this morning’s photo-op on the first day of Pride Month,” state Sen. Shevrin Jones said. “At the end of the day, transgender kids are just kids.”
State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, who became Florida’s first openly gay Latinx legislator, tweeted in response: “Appalling. First day of LGBTQ Pride Month and @GovRonDeSantis signs SB 1028 which bans trans kids from school sports.”
“FHSAA has allowed trans kids to participate in FL since 2013 with ZERO problems,” Smith continued. “This fuels transphobia and puts vulnerable kids at risk for no good reason.”
The Senate passed the anti-transgender sports bill in April, and it initially had a deadline to be signed into law by DeSantis on June 12 – the same day as the five-year anniversary of the shooting at the Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, that left 49 people dead.
An otherwise routine appearance for South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Fox News Monday night quickly turned tense when host Tucker Carlson began asking if she was “caving” to the NCAA by not signing a bill on transgender women athletes.
Both Carlson and Noem have been the subject of heavy speculation that they’ll run for president in 2024, making them potential GOP primary opponents.
The bill in question would bar trans women and girls from competing in women’s sports in South Dakota.
As Insider’s Madison Hall and Kayla Epstein previously reported, South Dakota’s bill is one of 36 similar pieces of legislation being pushed by GOP controlled legislatures across the country as the issue becomes a priority for the party.
In her Fox News hit, Noem tried to explain that signing the bill could lead to a drawn out court battle that the state would likely lose.
Carlson then cut her off and paraphrased what she was explaining.
“But wait, wait, wait – so you’re saying the NCAA threatened you, and you don’t think you can win that fight,” Carlson said. “They said if you sign this, they won’t allow girls in South Dakota to play, and you don’t think you can win in court, even though the public overwhelmingly supports you nationally, and so you’re caving to the NCAA. I think that’s what you’re saying.”
“No, that’s not right at all, Tucker,” Noem responded. “In, fact, you’re wrong. Completely. I’ve been working on this issue for years.”
Later on, Carlson described her decision as the result of when “big business intercedes, [the] NCAA, Chamber of Commerce and Amazon and tell you not to sign it, and you change your mind.”
“Well, that’s not true, Tucker,” Noem replied, appearing to grow increasingly irritated.
At another point, Carlson asked why Noem was talking about Title IX – the legal standard which prevents colleges and universities from discriminating in athletics or academics by gender – when “this is thousands of years of common sense and tradition.”
The exchange offered a possible sample of what their messaging to Republican voters could look like in a primary matchup between the two.
“Girls play girls sports. Boys play boys sports,” Carlson continued. “Why not, instead, just say, ‘Bring it on, NCAA. I’m a national figure. Go ahead and try and exclude us. I will fight you in the court of public opinion and defend principle.’ Why not just do that?”
Noem said Carlson was “preaching my sermon,” and that “I’m not interested in a participation trophy.”
“I’m not interested in picking a fight that we can’t win,” Noem continued. “I am a problem solver. I want to come to the table and I don’t want to have talking points. And I’ve been bullied for the last year by liberals, Tucker.”
The South Dakota governor then positioned herself as someone who’s interested in getting results instead of pursuing Carlson’s scorched earth strategy.
“I’m not gonna let anybody from the NCAA, from any big business – I’m not gonna even let conservatives on the right bully me,” she said. “I’m gonna solve the problem. I’m gonna make sure that we’re building strength in numbers … and make sure that we’re keeping only girls playing in girls sports.”
As Carlson kept pushing back, Noem turned the tables and began pressing the host over whether he’d read what she was talking about.
“Well did you read the bill or the style and reform message that I sent to the legislature?” Noem said.
“I did. I did. Yes, but I’m – ” Carlson said, before Noem cut him off and wrapped up her final remarks for the segment.