FACT CHECK: Asa pushback on transgender bathroom use?

Updated 4/11/2018
Conduit For Action focuses primarily on fiscal issues.  But sometimes the statements of candidates on social issues can be revealing concerning their truth telling. This is about a politician’s use of “carefully crafted words,” and the article is addressed to people on the right and the left.

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Do you think transgender citizens should be able to choose whether to use either the male or female restroom by self-identifying as one gender or the other? Do you care? If you are opposed to it, you probably describe the question as: Should men be able to use the restroom with women or girls?

This brings us to Governor Asa Hutchinson’s recent statement on the issue.  On March 15, 2018 he tweeted this:

“As your governor, I will always stand up for Arkansas values. I was the first to push back on the Obama administration’s “guidance” to the states on transgender bathrooms…..”

When he talks about “Arkansas values” and “pushback” against Obama’s policy he is trying to appeal to socially conservative Republican voters.  He to look conservative because has an opponent in the Republican primary, Jan Morgan.

But does his statement show he is against allowing people to self-identify and choose which bathroom to use?  NO.  If this is what you think, you have been misled by his “carefully crafted words.”

It doesn’t matter whether you are conservative or liberal, Asa has carefully crafted statements to convince you he is on your side of the bathroom issue.

A closer look at Asa’s tweet

Did Governor Hutchinson “push back” against the Obama policy? YES. He spoke against Obama’s guidelines for schools on May 13, 2016. But he only objected to the federal government setting guidelines and did not talk about what the bathroom policy should be.

Asa claims to have been the “first to push back.” Is this true? PROBABLY NOT. To determine whether he was, you would need a stopwatch because politicians in other states were criticizing the policy on the same day. For example, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory criticized the guidelines on the same day as Governor Hutchinson.[i]

Maybe he meant he was FIRST IN ARKANSAS to criticize the guidelines. Again, you would need a stop watch to figure that out. According to the Democrat Gazette other Arkansas politicians criticized the guidelines on the same day including U.S. Sen. John Boozman, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, and Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin.

Does the Governor’s tweet show he is opposed to transgender bathroom use? NO. His statement was not about opposing such a policy. He only objected to the federal government setting guidelines and said it should be a local school district issue.

Looking at his statement in the Democrat-Gazette, there is nothing in the statement on what he thinks the policy should be. Let’s read from the article concerning his statement:

“The recent letter from the federal government providing guidance to Arkansas schools on gender identification is offensive, intrusive and totally lacking in common sense,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “There is no recognizable problem in Arkansas on this issue. The federal government is stirring the pot and meddling in the local control and administration of our schools.

“Hutchinson said local school districts should “disregard the latest attempt at social engineering by the federal government and continue to use common sense to ensure a safe and healthy environment.”[ii]

His statement is not about what he thinks of the issue.  It is only an objection to federal intrusion. He encourages school districts to use “common sense” but what does that mean?

Also posturing for the left?

Asa is also poised to appeal to the left on the same issue. He opposed any attempt to pass an Arkansas law to prohibit a person from self-identifying as a man or women and using either bathroom.

May 20, 2016, “Gov. Asa Hutchinson stood against any movement to bring forward a bathroom bill similar to one in North Carolina in this special session.” – Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

January 4, 2017, “Hutchinson on Wednesday said he doesn’t see a need for legislation that would limit which restrooms transgender people could use at public schools.” “Hutchinson, a Republican, said he doesn’t think there’s a problem that needs to be addressed with legislation and that the issue can be handled locally.” – – Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

April 10, 2017, “Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson objected several times against so-called “bathroom bills” that seemingly target transgender people.” – Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Asa’s “carefully crafted words.”

By citing “Arkansas values” and his “pushback,” the Governor’s tweet is clearly intended to give voters in the Republican primary the impression that he opposes men using the same bathroom as women and girls. When he merely has opposed the federal government or state government being involved.  The tweet is an intentional deception to fool conservative voters.

If he wins the Republican nomination expect him to start appealing to liberal voters  citing his opposition to legislation restricting bathroom use. But with an unclear position will liberal voters buy his carefully crafted words?

The only thing clear about Asa’s position is he wants to be on your side (left or right) and leave the issue up to 238 Arkansas school districts and 1053 K-12 schools.[iii]

Are you a conservative on social issues?
Are you liberal?
It doesn’t matter –  Asa’s carefully crafted words sound like what you want to hear.



[i] https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/may/13/obama-administration-order-transgender-bathroom-ac/

[ii] http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2016/may/13/us-gives-directive-schools-transgender-bathroom-ac/

[iii] https://adedatabeta.arkansas.gov/ARK12