DeSantis Criticizes Haley Over Trans Issue With Minors: ‘She Said The Law Shouldn’t Get Involved In That’
TOPSHOT - Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) and former Governor from South Carolina and UN ambassador Nikki Haley gesture as they participate in the fourth Republican presidential primary debate at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on December 6, 2023.
JIM WATSON / AFP via Getty Images

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis criticized former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley during Wednesday night’s debate in Alabama on the issue of transgender treatments for minors.

During the fourth Republican presidential debate, hosted by NewsNation, DeSantis opened up by taking a shot at Haley, saying that “she caves anytime the Left comes after her, anytime the media comes after her.”

“I did a bill in Florida to stop the gender mutilation of minors. It’s child abuse, and it’s wrong,” he said. “She opposes that bill. She thinks it’s fine and the law shouldn’t get involved with it. If you’re not willing to stand up for the kids, if you’re not willing to stand up and say that it is wrong to mutilate these kids, then you’re not going to fight for the people back home. I will fight for you, and I will win for you.”

Haley responded by saying that DeSantis was lying about her record before speaking about some of the things she accomplished as governor and explaining why some major Wall Street heavyweights, including a Democratic billionaire, have backed her campaign.

“In reference to donors coming on board, look, we will take support from anybody we can take support from, but I have been a conservative fighter all my life,” Haley said. “I was a Tea Party candidate when I became governor.”

DeSantis responded, “She didn’t respond to the criticism; it wasn’t about the Parents Rights in Education bill. It was about prohibiting sex change operations on minors, they do puberty blockers, these are irreversible. Talk to Chloe Cole — she went through this, now she’s an adult, she’s warning against it. She may never be able to have kids again. That is what Nikki Haley opposed.”

“She said the law shouldn’t get involved in that,” he continued. “And I just asked you if you’re somebody that’s going to be the President of the United States, and you can’t stand up against child abuse, how are you going to be able to stand up for anything?”

“I never said that,” Haley responded. “I never said that. I said that if you have to be 18 to get a tattoo, you should have to be 18 to have anything done to change your gender.”

“You said the law should stay out of it,” DeSantis responded.


Videos that circulated on social media this week from earlier this year showed Haley saying that she thought the government should stay out of it.

“What care should be on the table when a 12-year-old child in this country assigned female at birth says, ‘actually I feel more comfortable living as a boy’?” a CBS host said to Haley. “What should the law allow the response to be?”

“I think the law should stay out of it and I think parents should handle it. This is a job for the parents to handle,” Haley responded. “And then when a child becomes 18, they can do that.”


She went on to say, “But I think up until then — we see with our teenage kids, they go through a lot in puberty. They go through a lot of confusion, they go through a lot of anxiety, they go through a lot of pressures. We should support them, the whole way through, but we don’t need to go in and force something in schools. We don’t need schools sitting there hiding from parents what gender pronouns their kids are using. We don’t need to have those conversations in schools. Those are conversations that should be had at home.”

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