President Donald Trump, speaking at a campaign event in Iowa, asked the crowd to imagine a scenario where he recruits LeBron James for a successful women’s basketball team.
“If I were the coach of a women’s basketball team, I would have the greatest team,” said Trump. “I’d say, ‘LeBron, would you like to become a woman?’ And I’d go to another 4 or 5 big guys and I’ll say, ‘how ’bout we will be undefeated for many, many years.
“We have school systems that don’t even want to talk to the parents about their children. And you talk about changing gender and things where the child can make a choice and the child can be unbelievably young. The country has gone sick,” added Trump.
The president’s monologue was given in response to a question about parent control over school curriculum and extracurricular activities, which have been in the crosshairs of conservative activists after high-profile incidents involving transgender athletes, LGBTQ-focused reading materials, and bathroom accommodates, among other issues roiling America’s schools today.
Transgender participants in high school and college athletics first became widely discussed after University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas transitioned to male and began dominating female competitions, causing some male athletes to openly mock the controversy by entering women’s competitions. Books such as “Gender Queer” have left some parents upset over the proliferation of sexual content in schools they say is not age appropriate. Even female students have begun to speak out about how gender-fluid restroom policies are making them uncomfortable.
Iowa, which has a deep well of evangelical Christians, will serve as a testing ground for culture war issues that President Trump and other Republican nominees for president seek to leverage as they vie for success in the party’s first-in-the-nation caucus.