Defending his veto of the Arkansas anti-trans health bill Tuesday night, Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson refused to be intimidated by Tucker Carlson and rebuffed the Fox host’s attempts to make him nervous with talking points and characterizations. wrong.
Carlson has repeatedly used his top-rated show in recent months to target trans kids and their parents, largely under the guise of wanting to prevent child abuse or protect the sanctity of women’s sports.
In March, he lambasted South Dakota Republican Governor Kristi Noem, a rising star of the Republican Party and possible presidential candidate, for “giving in” to the NCAA by failing to sign a bill that bans transgender women in the United States. sports. (Noem, who supports the exclusion of transgender athletes, said passage of the bill could lead to a lengthy court battle that the state would eventually lose.)
Before her interview with Carlson, Hutchinson told NPR that the Arkansas bill banning gender-affirming treatments for transgender minors was a “step too far” and places a “very vulnerable population in a more difficult position. “.
He added: “My own personal opinion that this is too extreme, it was too broad and did not open to young people who are currently on hormone therapy.”
The Save Teens from Experimentation Act, which the state legislature passed overriding Hutchinson’s veto, prohibits minors from receiving puberty blockers, hormones, and any transition-related surgery, even if they have parental consent. It could also remove the licenses of any healthcare provider that provides such services.
At the beginning of his conversation with the Fox News star, the governor noted that Carlson’s description of Hutchinson’s position, which he said was “pro-choice on the issue of chemical castration,” was not accurate.
“If this had been a bill that simply outlawed chemical castration, I would have signed it,” Hutchinson said. But Tucker, as you know, this bill was too broad and extreme. It was way beyond what he just said. “
“And I made it clear that if it was about banning sex reassignment surgery procedures, I absolutely would have signed that bill,” he continued. “But this was the first law in the nation to invoke the state between medical decisions, consenting parents and the patient’s decision. And then this goes too far. And in fact, it does not even have a grandfather clause that those young people who are under hormonal treatment ”.
By insisting that puberty blockers were the equivalent of “chemical castration,” Carlson wondered aloud why Hutchinson wouldn’t also get rid of the laws allowing boys to marry or drink alcohol. “There are all kinds of things in Arkansas, kids in every state are not allowed to do,” Carlson said.
Carlson also claimed that Hutchinson hadn’t done much research on transgender issues, only for the governor to point out that he has studied the issue quite a bit.
“In contrast to what you just said, I spent a lot of time reviewing cases, meeting with people, listening to experts and also religious leaders,” he said. “And I am a person of faith, but at the same time, I am a person with a limited role in government. I signed pro-life bills. I sign many bills that would be considered very conservative. But this is one that crosses the line. There is no need for it. “
Hutchinson referred Carlson to the American Academy of Pediatrics, which has spoken out against the bill because it targets transgender youth. Carlson ignored that and asked the governor if he spoke to corporations like Walmart before vetoing the legislation.
After saying he hadn’t, Hutchinson attempted to return to his previous point, only for Carlson to press him again on whether he had spoken to corporate interests about the bill.
“Tucker, I answered that. I answered that question and said, ‘No, I haven’t.’ Do you have any other questions? “Hutchinson replied, briefly leaving Carlson silent.
“I am skeptical because we have certainly seen through the – let me say, Governor, with respect, I am skeptical that not a single corporation in the state of Arkansas has intervened with you in one way or another on this bill,” Presenter de Fox finally responded.
Carlson then returned to his original line of argument, asking why Hutchinson would not allow minors to drink and marry, and wondered aloud, “Why are we regulating children’s behavior if we allow children to decide “make the transition? While harassing Hutchinson, the governor finally responded to the increasingly hostile host.
“Do you want to keep talking or do you want me to answer the question?” Hutchinson asked.
The lengthy interview concluded with Carlson asking Hutchinson if he could ever have foreseen that it would be the governor who vetoed “a bill that would have protected children from chemical castration,” prompting Hutchinson to give a rather nuanced answer.
“When you talk about less than 200 children in Arkansas who are currently on hormone treatment and are immediately cut off without having a grandparent clause in the legislation, I don’t think that’s treating those kids or their parents or their healthcare providers. . fairly or equitably, ”he said.