The White House said Tuesday that “there is no yes or no answer” when asked whether it is fair that transgender athletes take part in sports designated for biological females — an issue the Biden administration labeled as a “complicated” one that contains a “wide range of views.”
The comments came after White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked by Fox Business correspondent Hillary Vaughn whether President Biden agrees with GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley that biological boys participating in female sports is the “women’s issue of our time,” and whether he believes the matter is a “women’s rights issue.”
“So we’ve talked about this many times. This is the Title XI, specifically. Look, and again, we’ve talked about this multiple times. It’s a complicated issue, and there are a wide range of views on this. The Department of Education proposed a rule, as you know, that gives schools the flexibility to establish their own athletics policies, and so while establishing guardrails, right, to prevent discrimination against transgender kids,” Jean-Pierre responded. “That is something that is incredibly important, that the president wants to make sure that we also do that as well. So I’m just not going to get ahead of that.”
MOST AMERICANS BELIEVE TRANS ATHLETES SHOULD COMPETE AGAINST THOSE WITH SAME BIOLOGICAL GENDER: POLL
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House on August 29, 2023, in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Pushing her on the subject by reminding Jean-Pierre of the president’s granddaughters, Vaughn asked if Biden cares whether “girls are allowed to compete in sports without fear of injury” or whether he believes it’s “fair for girls to have to compete against biological males.”
Refusing to comment on whether the Biden believes the issue is about fairness for biological females, Jean-Pierre put emphasis on the fact that the Biden administration aims to “prevent discrimination” against transgender kids.
“I just answered the question. It is a complicated issue. It is truly a complicated issue with a wide range of views, a wide range of views. There is no yes or no answer to this. It is complicated. There’s a rule that the Department of Education has put forward, and we’re going to let that process move forward,” Jean-Pierre said. “Again, we want to make sure that while we establish guardrails with this rule that we also prevent discrimination, as well, against transgender kids. But again, a complicated issue with a wide range of views, and we respect that.”
Jean-Pierre’s comments about the matter being a “complicated issue” mirrored similar remarks she made in June, when she accused a reporter of characterizing transgender people as “dangerous” during a line of questioning about the safety concerns surrounding the participation of transgender athletes in women’s sports.
Jean-Pierre’s comments at the time came after EWTN White House correspondent Owen Jensen asked her about the mounting concerns among parents of female athletes who are being forced to compete against biologically male competitors.
Jensen began his question by reading aloud a tweet from Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., who wrote that allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports is “unfair, unsafe and wrong.” He also cited a letter signed by 72 “elite female athletes” who argued that forcing them to compete against biological males is “not only unfair, but discriminatory and illegal.”
President Biden speaks in Auburn, Maine, on July 28, 2023. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
KJP CLAIMS IT IS ‘DANGEROUS’ TO QUESTION SAFETY OF FEMALE ATHLETES COMPETING AGAINST MALES IN TESTY EXCHANGE
“What would the president say to parents out there who have daughters, let’s say in high school, for example, who are worried that their daughter may have to compete against a male, a person born male and they could be a direct and physically athletic competition, and worry about their daughter’s safety?” he continued.
Referring to the issue as “complicated” earlier on in the press briefing at the time, Jean-Pierre accused the reporter of characterizing transgender athletes as “dangerous.”
“What you’re alluding to is basically saying that transgender kids are dangerous. … It sounds like that’s what you’re saying,” she retorted.
Jensen tried to push back against the assertion, interjecting, “I didn’t say that. This is strictly a safety question.”
“Well, you’re saying that their safety is at risk,” Jean-Pierre responded. “You’re laying out a kind of broad example or explanation of what could be potentially happening. That is dangerous. That is a dangerous thing to say that essentially transgender kids are dangerous.
“And so that’s something that I have to call out. That is irresponsible,” she continued. “I had just laid out how complicated this issue is. I had just laid out why it’s complicated, and so anything that you have any additional questions, I refer you to the Department of Education. I’m gonna move on.”
The U.S. Department of Education building in Washington, D.C. (STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
Transgender participation in sports has become a flashpoint in the sports world and in the political arena as women sports advocates cite unfair biological advantages that help males dominate their female competitors. The issue has also raised safety concerns among parents of female athletes, who fear their children could sustain lasting physical injuries if forced to compete against stronger biological males.
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In April, the Biden administration proposed new Title IX regulations on transgender people in schools. Under the department’s proposed rule, no school or college that receives federal funding would be allowed to impose a “one-size-fits-all” policy that categorically bans transgender students from playing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity. Such policies would be considered a violation of Title IX.
Fox News’ Yael Halon and Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.