Rand Paul to EdSec Nominee Who Says Boys Have ‘Right’ to Compete in Girls’ Sports: ‘What Planet Are You From?'

By Susan Jones | February 4, 2021 | 5:58am EST
Education Secretary nominee Miguel Cardona testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee during his confirmation hearing on February 3, 2021. (Photo by SUSAN WALSH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Education Secretary nominee Miguel Cardona testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee during his confirmation hearing on February 3, 2021. (Photo by SUSAN WALSH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said he's "disappointed" that Dr. Miguel Cardona, President Biden's nominee for education secretary, is "okay" with "boys competing with girls" in track meets, swim meets, wrestling matches, and other sports arenas.

Cardona told Sen. Paul, "I believe schools should offer the opportunity for students to engage in extracurricular activities even if they are transgender. I think that's their right."

"Well, a lot of us think that that's bizarre, you know, not very fair," Paul said:

You know, I come from a family that has a lot of girls who have been--have competed in college athletics, have been state champions. And frankly, you know, some boy that's 6 foot 2 competing against my 5 foot 4 niece doesn't sound very fair.

I think most people in the country think it's bizarre, you know, that it's just completely bizarre and unfair that people--and you're going to run the Department of Education--you've got no problem with it. That concerns me, and I think it's this kind of thing is going to lead to really just the vast majority of America just wondering who are these people that think it's okay? From what planet are you from? I mean, to think it's okay that boys would compete with girls in a track meet and that that somehow would be fair.

I wonder where our feminists are on this. I wonder where the people who supported women's sports are on this. I mean, are we all going to be okay with hulking 6 foot 4 guys, you know, wrestling against girls do--you know, it just makes no sense whatsoever.

And so I think the fact that you seem to be afraid to answer the question, or you basically do answer the question by saying it's okay without saying it's okay really is a statement to a real problem we have and a disconnect between what middle America and what most Americans actually believe.

I even think most Democrats don't believe girls should run in the boys' track meet, you know, boys should run in the girls' track meet. So I'm disappointed in the answer, and I just can't imagine that we're going to have a policy like that nationally.

A transcript of the entire exchange between Sen. Paul and Dr. Cardona is printed below.

On his first day in office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order "preventing and combating discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation."

The order reads in part: "Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports."

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, in 2020, 18 states introduced legislation that would ban transgender student athletes from participating in school sports. Eleven states have introduced similar legislation so far in 2021, the ACLU said.

Idaho is the only state to pass such a law so far. The ACLU sued the state on behalf of Lindsay Hecox, a Boise State student who would be banned from the women’s track team because she is transgender, along with Jane Doe, a cisgender high school student who could be subjected to invasive medical screenings under the law.

In August, a federal judge blocked Idaho's ban on transgender student athletes. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to rule on the law this spring.

At the federal level, the Supreme Court has twice rejected cases challenging school policies that support transgender students, the ACLU said.

The following is a transcript of Sen. Rand Paul's questioning of Education Secretary-nominee Dr. Miguel Cardona, a former fourth-grade teacher who advanced to school principal, then school superintendent, and finally ended up as Connecticut's commissioner of education.

PAUL: The Office of Civil Rights sent a letter to Connecticut saying that boys can't compete with girls in sports...If you're confirmed, will you enforce that Office of Civil Rights opinion?

CARDONA: Well, Senator, thank you for the question. I understand there are a lot of concerns about that. If confirmed, it's my responsibility and my privilege to make sure that we're following civil rights of all students, and that includes activities that they may engage in, in high school or athletics.

PAUL: What do you think in general about boys running in girls' track meets, like they've been doing in Connecticut?

CARDONA: I think that it's critically important that education systems and educators respect the rights of all students, including students who are transgender, and that they are afforded the opportunities that every other student has to participate in extra-curricular activities.

PAUL: Does it bother you that like the top 20 percent of boys running in track meets beat all of the girls in the state and that it, you know, would completely destroy girls' athletics, that girls are being pushed out? If they don't make the finals in the state meet, they don't get college scholarships; that it's really detrimental to girls' sports? Do you worry about having boys run in girls' track meets?

CARDONA: You know, I recognize and appreciate the concerns and the frustrations that are expressed. As commissioner of education, I've had conversations with families who have felt the way you just described it and families of students who are transgender, so I understand that this is a challenge. I look forward to working with you and others to--

PAUL: Do you think it's fair to have boys running in the girls' track meet?

CARDONA: I think it's appropriate for--I think it's the legal responsibility of schools to provide opportunities for students to participate in activities, and this includes students who are transgender.

PAUL: So you don't have a problem then with boys running in the girls' track meets, swimming meets, you name it? You're okay then with boys competing with girls?

CARDONA: Respectfully, Senator, I think I answered the question. I believe schools should offer the opportunity for students to engage in extracurricular activities even if they are transgender. I think that's their right.

PAUL: All right. Well, a lot of us think that that's bizarre, you know, not very fair. You know, I come from a family that has a lot of girls who have been--have competed in college athletics, have been state champions. And frankly, you know, some boy that's 6 foot 2 competing against my 5 foot 4 niece doesn't sound very fair.

I think most people in the country think it's bizarre, you know, that it's just completely bizarre and unfair that people--and you're going to run the Department of Education--you've got no problem with it. That concerns me, and I think it's this kind of thing is going to lead to really just the vast majority of America just wondering who are these people that think it's okay? From what planet are you from? I mean, to think it's okay that boys would compete with girls in a track meet and that that somehow would be fair.

I wonder where our feminists are on this. I wonder where the people who supported women's sports are on this. I mean, are we all going to be okay with hulking 6 foot 4 guys, you know, wrestling against girls do--you know, it just makes no sense whatsoever. And so I think the fact that you seem to be afraid to answer the question, or you basically do answer the question by saying it's okay without saying it's okay really is a statement to a real problem we have and a disconnect between what middle America and what most Americans actually believe.

I even think most Democrats don't believe girls should run in the boys' track meet, you know, boys should run in the girls' track meet. So I'm disappointed in the answer, and I just can't imagine that we're going to have a policy like that nationally.

CARDONA: Thank you, Senator.

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