While NBC News' Savannah Guthrie was reminding President Donald Trump that he's the president and not "someone's crazy uncle," Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden spoke with a concerned mother during Thursday night's dueling town halls. Over on ABC News, Biden vowed to protect LGBTQ+ rights and "flat out change the law."
During Biden's town hall, which was moderated by ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, Mieke Haeck, a mom of a two girls, with an 8-year-old transgender daughter, asked an important question: "The Trump administration has attacked the rights of transgender people, banning them from military service, weakening nondiscriminatory protections and even removing the word 'transgender' from some government websites. How will you as president reverse this dangerous and discriminatory agenda and ensure that the lives and rights of LGBTQ people are protected under U.S?"
"I would just flat out change the law," Biden responded. "I would eliminated [Mr. Trump's] executive orders, number one."
The Democratic nominee went on to share a story from his childhood when he first encountered an LGBTQ+ couple with his father. "These two men, well-dressed, leaned up and hugged one another and kissed one another," Biden said, adding that he turned to look to his dad for a reaction, who told him, "'Joey, it's simple. They love each other.'"
As for the transgender people trying to navigate the world today like Haeck's daughter, Biden said on Thursday he believes there should be "zero discrimination" against them. "The idea that an 8-year-old child or a 10-year-old child decides you know, 'I decided I want to be transgender. That's what I think I'd like to be. It'd make my life a lot easier.' There should be zero discrimination."
Biden has a long history of advocating for LGBTQ+ rights. In 2012, he became the first national leader to support same-sex marriage during a Meet The Press appearance, and that same year (an election year, no less) he referred to transgender discrimination as the "civil rights issue of our time," according to The Advocate.
Over the past four years, the Trump administration has rolled back protections for transgender rights, including a decision in June by the Department of Health and Human Services to eliminate protections for transgender people being discriminated against who work in health care services. In 2017, the Trump administration withdrew protections for transgender students against harassment and bullying, according to Human Rights Watch, and banned transgender people from serving in the military.
For years, there have been calls to protect transgender kids since Trump elected, as ABC News reported, just as this concerned mother touched on at Biden's town hall.