Fusion anchor Jorge Ramos sat down with Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson in a diner earlier today and gave the former neurosurgeon a chance to weigh in on Tuesday's repeal of a sweeping nondiscrimination ordinance in Texas, known as the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.
Ramos positioned the ordinance as one protecting the "LGBT community," rather than a broad series of protections based on 15 different traits, including race, gender, military status, disability, and sexual orientation and gender identity. But he did zero in on the powerful scare tactic employed by HERO opponents, who openly referred to HERO as the "bathroom ordinance," falsely claiming that nondiscrimination protections would allow men dressed as women to enter women's restrooms and harass or assault them.
Ramos asked Carson if transgender men and women should "use any public bathroom they choose."
"How about we have a transgender bathroom?" Carson suggested. When Ramos asked if that was Carson's genuine proposal, the Republican responded "Absolutely."
He did not indicate whether he thinks transgender men and women should use the same restroom as one another, before going on to falsely suggest that access to public restrooms that correspond to one's actual gender constitutes "extra rights."
"It is not fair for them to make everybody else uncomfortable,” Carson continued. "It’s one of the things that I don’t particularly like about the [LGBT] movement. I think everybody has equal rights, but I’m not sure that anybody should have extra rights — extra rights when it comes to redefining everything for everybody else and imposing your view on everybody else, when the way that this country was designed, it was live and let live.”
"I feel that gay people, they can do anything they want," Carson added, before confirming to Ramos that he opposes marriage equality — a fact that he recently claimed does not make him homophobic. According to Real Clear Politics, national support for Carson as the GOP's presidential nominee in 2016 is nearly tied with that of fellow establishment outsider Donald Trump.
"Ben Carson's hateful comments are out of touch and all candidates should immediately make clear that they disavow his dangerously transphobic views," said Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin in a statement Thursday. "Ben Carson can’t go a week without invoking reckless and irresponsible stereotypes about the LGBT community, and his suggestion that transgender people be required to use segregated bathrooms echoes an ugly past our country should never revisit."
Watch Fusion's interview below.