Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) heavily pressed President Joe Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Education on Wednesday, seeking a clear answer on Miguel Cardona’s position on the topic of biologically male transgender athletes competing in girls’ sports.
What are the details?
During a confirmation hearing, Paul began his questioning of Cardona by noting that last year, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights “sent a letter to Connecticut saying that boys can’t compete with girls in sports.” The senator asked, “If you’re confirmed, will you enforce that Office of Civil Rights opinion?”
Mr. Cardona acknowledged that “there were concerns about that,” and answered that if confirmed, “it’s my responsibility and my privilege to make sure that we’re following civil rights of all students, and that includes activities that they may engage in in high school or in athletics.”
“What do you think in general about boys running in girls’ track meets like they have been doing in Connecticut?” Paul asked.
The nominee replied, “I think that it’s critically important to education systems and educators respect the rights of all students, including students who are transgender, and that they are afforded the opportunities that every other student has to participate in extracurricular activities.”
Paul pressed, “Does it bother you that the top 20 percent of boys running in track meets beat all of the girls in the state and that it would, you know, completely destroy girls’ athletics? That girls are being pushed out? [If] they don’t make the finals in the state meet, they don’t get college scholarships? That’s it’s really detrimental to girls’ sports? Do you worry about having boys running girls’ track meets?”
Cardona said that he “appreciate[d] the concerns” that Paul brought up and “the frustrations expressed,” and the two engaged in a back-and-forth where Cardona insisted that he answered the question by reiterating that transgender students’ civil rights must be protected.
Unsatisfied with Cardona’s responses, Paul called it “completely bizarre and unfair” to allow biological males to compete against females, and voiced his concern over Cardona heading up the Department of Education. The senator asked, “I wonder where feminists are on this? I wonder where the people who supported women’s sports are on this.”
What’s the background?
CBS News reported:
Little was known about Cardona’s views on major education policy issues, since the former public school teacher only entered the national public eye in December when Biden announced his nomination to lead the Education Department. Cardona, who began his career as a fourth-grade teacher, quickly rose through the administrative ranks. In August 2019, he was appointed to lead Connecticut’s Education Department, becoming the first Latino to hold the position.
On President Biden’s first day in office, he signed an executive order declaring that any school receiving federal funds must allow biological males who identify as females to compete in girls’ sports.