GOP lawmaker asks whether trans rights advocates would celebrate Trump declaring himself 'first female president'

Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzTop Trump ally says potential Amash presidential bid could be problematic in Michigan GOP moves to block provision banning use of Defense funds for border wall GOP lawmaker says some Trump officials contradicting Pompeo on Iran and al Qaeda MORE (R-Fla.) said Tuesday he can’t support a transgender rights legislation, citing as an example that President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question MORE could declare himself “the first female president”

During a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Equality Act, which would outlaw discrimination based on gender, Gaetz said he “can’t” support the legislation because it “would only nominally protect certain individuals while causing tremendous harm to others.”

“I strongly support the rights of transgender individuals,” he continued. “I will not denigrate or deny their struggles. But I am concerned about the potential bad actors who would exploit the provisions for their own gain.”

He asked “if President Trump were to say, ‘I’m am now the first female president,’ who would celebrate that?”

Gaetz repeatedly said he wants to support the legislation, but continued to bring up reasons for why he felt as though he couldn’t.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I want to support this legislation and in the broadest sense I do. I believe that individuals in our country should not face discrimination for their sex or their gender or their sexual orientation,” Gaetz said, before questions what would happen “when sex is defined as gender identity and gender identity is terribly vague?”

“Will all sex-based distinctions be erased?” he quipped.

During his speaking time, Gaetz clashed with committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerNadler apologized after repeatedly calling Hope Hicks 'Ms. Lewandowski' at hearing Hope Hicks: Trump campaign felt 'relief' after WikiLeaks released damaging info about Hillary Clinton House hearing marks historic moment for slavery reparations debate MORE (D-N.Y.), who unsuccessfully tried to make Gaetz yield his time as he went off topic to talk about a separate piece of legislation.