The GOP governor of Arkansas defected to the left last week when he vetoed a bill to ban what the Associated Press described as “gender confirming treatments” for transgender children. Now, Republicans in his state and beyond are crying foul.
According to Breitbart, conservatives including The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway and former Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis have decried Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s decision to reject the measure, which the AP said would bar “doctors from providing gender confirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers, or surgery to anyone under 18 years old, or from referring them to other providers for the treatment.”
The Republican-dominated state legislature in Arkansas later voted to override Hutchinson’s veto, The Hill reported, meaning despite pushback from the governor, the proposal is set to soon become law.
“What the party is about”
Hutchinson, for his part, has defended his decision, saying the bill would create “new standards of legislative interference with physicians and parents as they deal with some of the most complex and sensitive matters dealing with young people,” according to the AP.
In a later interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, the governor said while he supported other, similar pieces of legislation, this one in particular “was not well done.”
“It did not protect the youth. It interfered with the government getting into the lives of transgender youth as well as their parents and the decisions that doctors make,” he said, according to Breitbart.
“As a Republican Party, it’s the principles of limited government, and it’s pushing freedom and choice in the free market,” Hutchinson added. “That’s what the party is about. We’ve got to apply those principles even when it comes to the social war.”
“A total disaster”
But while Hutchinson may feel that the bill missed the mark, others on the right have said vetoing it goes against conservative values. In a tweet, Ellis, who served as counsel for former President Donald Trump, said the governor and Republicans who similarly oppose the bill “need a thorough lesson in the Constitution and what the principle of limited government actually means.”
“Republicans like him are a total disaster and are NOT conservatives,” she said.
The sentiment was echoed by the likes of former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka, who called Hutchinson a “coward” and “an imbecile” in a tweet of his own last week. To Hemingway, senior editor at The Federalist, it all boils down to whether the “surgical castration of kids” is something the GOP can support.
Arkansas Governor @AsaHutchinson just told Tucker Carlson that if Republicans “want to broaden the party” they have to support the chemical castration of children and that’s why he vetoed a bill on transgenderism that restricts chemical and surgical castration of kids.
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) April 7, 2021
Hutchinson certainly seems to have dug himself into a hole with this one. Only time will tell when — and if — his political career will recover.