Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, in particular, battled over a transgender bathroom bill in South Carolina, which the Florida governor accused Haley of “killing.”
“As a parent, you do not have the right to abuse your kids,” DeSantis said during the debate against allowing transgender surgeries among minors. “I signed legislation in Florida banning the mutilation of minors because it is wrong. We cannot allow this to happen in this country.
“Nikki disagrees with me. She opposes the bill that we did to ban that,” he continued.
“I did not,” Haley interjected.
“They had a bill to try to say that men shouldn’t go into girls’ bathrooms and she killed that bill and she bragged that she killed that bill — even to this day she bragged,” DeSantis also said about a 2016 South Carolina bill that limited transgender people from using bathrooms that don’t align with their gender given at birth.
Moments later, Haley shot back at the Florida governor when given the chance to respond. “So first of all, Ron has continued to lie because he’s losing,” the former South Carolina governor said. “Ten years ago, when the bathroom situation came up, we had maybe a handful of kids that were dealing with an issue. And I said we don’t need to bring government into this. But boys go into boys’ bathrooms ,girls go into girls’ bathrooms, and if anyone else has an issue, they use a private bathroom.”
As Haley was attacking DeSantis, he interjected, “I signed a bathroom bill in Florida.” The crowd clapped in approval.
“I signed it — you killed it,” DeSantis continued. “I stood up for little girls — you didn’t do it.”
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie defended his opposition against banning transgender surgeries citing the parental rights movement. “I trust parents,” Christie said when moderator Megyn Kelly questioned him. “And we’re out there saying that we should empower parents in education. We should empower parents to make more decisions about where their kids go to school. I agree. We should empower parents to be teaching the values that they believe in their homes without the government telling them what those values should be.”
Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy was blunt in his assessment. “I think the North Star here is transgenderism is a mental health disorder,” he said to applause. “We don’t let you smoke a cigarette by the age of 18. We don’t let you have an addictive drink of alcohol by the age of 21.”
“And I just challenged Ron DeSantis to go one step further and support what I think is clearly within the authority to do using federal funds just like Reagan did in ’84 for the highway app that said the minimum drinking age needs to be 21,” he continued. “We can do the same thing when it comes to banning genital mutilation or chemical castration.”