MSNBC anchor rips West Virginia governor on air over anti-trans law

MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle criticized the GOP governor for prioritizing the wrong initiatives

Published May 1, 2021 10:07AM (EDT)

MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle interviewing Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice. (MSNBC)
MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle interviewing Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice. (MSNBC)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle delivered blow after blow when she shredded West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice's (R) futile argument in defense of the state's newly-passed anti-trans bill that restricts transgender girls and women from competing on athletic teams.

On Friday, April 30, when Justice appeared on the show with Ruhle, she asked if he could identify one isolated incident where a transgender child attempted to gain an unfair athletic advantage. The Republican governor failed to provide a solid answer.

"I can't really tell you one, but I can tell you this, Stephanie, I'm a coach and I coach a girl's basketball team and I can tell you, we all know — we all know what absolute advantage boys would have playing against girls," he reasoned, misgendering transgender girls. "We don't need that."

Ruhle fired back at Justice by asking him why he chose to sign a bill into law when he had no actual evidence to support a prioritized need for it. She went on to offer Justice details about more pressing issues in his state with a brief overview of poor statistics about his governing state as she criticized him for prioritizing the wrong initiatives.

"Let's talk about other things I can give you examples of in your state," she said. "According to U.S. News & World Report, West Virginia ranked 47th in health care, 48th in the economy, and 50th in infrastructure. If you cannot name one single example for me of a child doing this, why would you make this a priority? I named four things that would seem to me like a much bigger priority."

Watch the entire clip below via YouTube:

Justice insisted that he did not view the bill as a priority, but Ruhle appeared unimpressed with his response.

"It just came to me and I actually signed it because I believe from the standpoint of a coach, I believe that girls worked so hard to obtain Title Nine, and I do not have any idea now why we are trying to disadvantage them in participating in a sport that they put so much into," he replied. " I don't know why we're doing that. This is not like it's a big priority to me."

After doubling down on the fact that the bill was not a priority, he admitted that there are probably no more than a dozen transgender children across the entire state of West Virginia. However, he still felt the need to incorporate a statewide measure.

"I mean for crying out loud, Stephanie, I sign hundreds of bills, hundreds of bills," Justice added. "This is not a priority to me. But with all of that, I would say, I think that it would impose an unfair disadvantage on the girls. So, from that standpoint, I support it."

Before concluding the interview, Ruhle added, "I can show you evidence of how ranking that low in education is disadvantaging young women and men in West Virginia."


By Meaghan Ellis

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Alternet Anti-trans Bills Cable News Interviews Lgbtq Msnbc Politics Stephanie Ruhle Transgender