An online uproar followed Tuesday’s heated exchange between Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) as the latter defended his recent veto of legislation that would have made Arkansas the first state to ban puberty blockers, hormones, and surgery — for transgender minors.
While Hutchinson claimed he was exercising his belief in a limited role of government while accusing Carlson of misrepresenting the bill, the Fox News host accused the governor of ignorance surrounding the “emerging field” of such treatments.
“It doesn’t sound like you have studied it very deeply,” Carlson said.
Our debate with the Governor of Arkansas, a man who vetoed a bill which bans doctors from prescribing puberty blockers to children.https://t.co/g5izzkasZI
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) April 7, 2021
The Fox News host also stated that he was “skeptical” over Hutchinson’s assertion that no one affiliated with corporations such as Walmart spoke to the governor about opposition to the legislation.
Hutchinson, a Republican, created an online storm as a result of the bizarre “limited government” defense of his veto, with many right-wing personalities calling it “career-ending.”
“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,” columnist and political commentator Mollie Hemingway wrote:
& @AsaHutchinson claimed that absolutely nobody affiliated with Wal-Mart or any other corporation ever said a word to him about their opposition to it. Got testy when Tucker said he found that a touch hard to believe. https://t.co/O4Jw8txsmV
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) April 7, 2021
“Ada [sic] Hutchinson more or less admitted last week that there is corporate pressure for him to veto bills like the one he did today,” political commentator Ian Miles Cheong wrote. “Completely contradicts what he told Tucker tonight.”
Ada Hutchinson more or less admitted last week that there is corporate pressure for him to veto bills like the one he did today. Completely contradicts what he told Tucker tonight. pic.twitter.com/vFdKlYnLvu
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) April 7, 2021
“This is stunning,” talk radio host Mark Davis wrote. “Either activists got to #AsaHutchinson or he has lost his damn mind.”
“Either way, this is inexcusable for any conservative,” he added:
— Mark Davis (@MarkDavis) April 7, 2021
“Why vote Republican if all you get is Asa Hutchinson?” conservative strategist Chris Barron commentated:
Why vote Republican if all you get is Asa Hutchinson?
— Chris Barron 🇺🇸 (@ChrisRBarron) April 7, 2021
“How on Earth did Asa Hutchinson even get elected,” asked Dr. Sebastian Gorka, former senior aide to former President Donald Trump.
“He’s not just a coward, he’s an imbecile,” he added:
How on Earth did Asa Hutchinson even get elected.
He’s not just a coward, he’s an imbecile.
— Sebastian Gorka DrG (@SebGorka) April 7, 2021
“Republicans like @AsaHutchinson need a thorough lesson in the Constitution and what the principle of limited government actually means,” Jenna Ellis, former senior legal adviser to President Trump, stated.
“Republicans like him are a total disaster and are NOT conservatives,” she added:
Republicans like @AsaHutchinson 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.
— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) April 7, 2021
“This is the most ridiculous attempted defense of limited government possibly ever,” Ellis wrote in another tweet. “What a total moron.”
“@AsaHutchinson is an embarrassment,” she added.
“Asa Hutchinson went on @TuckerCarlson tonight thinking he could soothe the rubes explaining why *checks notes* Reagan and Buckley would be all in on castrating children to cater to their Munchausen mommies. Didn’t work,” columnist Kurt Schlichter wrote:
Asa Hutchinson went on @TuckerCarlson tonight thinking he could soothe the rubes explaining why *checks notes* Reagan and Buckley would be all in on castrating children to cater to their Munchausen mommies.
— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) April 7, 2021
“Any ‘Republican’ that supports pediatric transgender hormone treatment or surgery is supporting child abuse,” Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) said:
Any “Republican” that supports pediatric transgender hormone treatment or surgery is supporting child abuse. https://t.co/eoexwode21
— Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸 (@mtgreenee) April 7, 2021
“The conservative case for castrating children,” former congressional candidate Ryan Cunningham wrote:
"The conservative case for castrating children."@AsaHutchinson
— Ryan Cunningham (@rcfor52) April 7, 2021
“@AsaHutchinson is out of touch,” wrote Mercedes Schlapp, the former White House Director of Strategic Communications. “We need to protect our children.”
— Mercedes Schlapp (@mercedesschlapp) April 7, 2021
“A limited government argument for the chemical castration of children from @AsaHutchinson,” political commentator Will Ricciardella wrote.
“The state has an express duty to combat child abuse,” he added. “The GOP is badly damaged. Very badly damaged.”
A limited government argument for the chemical castration of children from @AsaHutchinson …
The state has an express duty to combat child abuse. The GOP is badly damaged. Very badly damaged. https://t.co/dQ1IfrbXs2
— Will Ricciardella (@WillRicci) April 7, 2021
“Asa Hutchinson got embarrassed by Tucker!” author and activist Brigitte Gabriel wrote.
Asa Hutchinson got embarrassed by Tucker!
— Brigitte Gabriel (@ACTBrigitte) April 7, 2021
Podcaster Gerry Callahan also ridiculed the governor’s interview, describing it as the disgraceful end to his “40-year political career.”
“After watching Hutchinson on Tucker I have to wonder if Hutchinson has any idea what a conservative is,” syndicated talk radio host Dana Loesch wrote.
“Of all the hills this dude could politically die on, he picks kiddie chemical castration.”
Of all the hills this dude could politically die on, he picks kiddie chemical castration.
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) April 7, 2021
“Asa Hutchinson just poured gas on himself and lit a match,” writer and political commentator Ben Domenech said:
"How is it conservative to say you can't make 12 year olds permanently infertile" the blessings of liberty said.
— Ben Domenech (@bdomenech) April 7, 2021
“Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson is the kind of Republican who gave us Obama and Biden,” conservative radio host Eric Metaxas wrote. “He is not a leader, but a misleader.”
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson is the kind of Republican who gave us Obama and Biden. He is not a leader, but a misleader. https://t.co/AEIhUGFlXH
— Eric Metaxas (@ericmetaxas) April 7, 2021
“Hutchinson preposterously claims that ‘limited government’ is behind his cowardly veto, and common good cons decide it’s a good time to attack limited government conservativism rather than point out that his justification was complete nonsense,” columnist David Harsanyi wrote.
Hutchinson preposterously claims that "limited government" is behind his cowardly veto, and common good cons decide it's a good time to attack limited government conservativism rather than point out that his justification was complete nonsense.
— David Harsanyi (@davidharsanyi) April 7, 2021
“@AsaHutchinson might as well resign,” journalist John Cardillo wrote. “His political career ended on Tucker.”
.@AsaHutchinson might as well resign. His political career ended on Tucker.
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) April 7, 2021
“You are either not honest or not sane if you watch this exchange and claim that Hutchinson makes the more salient case,” blogger Matt Walsh commented:
You are either not honest or not sane if you watch this exchange and claim that Hutchinson makes the more salient case https://t.co/EXA3Gbm4PV
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) April 7, 2021
Subsequently, on Tuesday, the Arkansas legislature voted overwhelmingly to override Hutchinson’s veto in a 25-8 vote.
While Democrats and the broader left regularly frame human sexual dimorphism as an arbitrary social construct, many see the frenzied entertaining of children’s curiosity as a form of abuse.
Earlier this week, National Public Radio (NPR) Boston affiliate WBUR aired an interview with a Massachusetts third-grader and his parents describing their experience since being “startled” by their child’s announcement that he feels like a “boy-girl” at the mere age of six. As a result, many listeners took to Twitter to voice their concerns over what they viewed as “child abuse,” with some calling to defund the taxpayer-funded radio network.
In February, former HUD secretary Dr. Ben Carson, a retired pediatric neurosurgeon, described the pushing of left-wing transgender ideology upon children as “child abuse” on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with host Alex Marlow.
“Biology tells us that there are males and there are females, and there’s a reason for that, and we also know that the human brain is an incredibly complex organ and it’s not fully developed until your mid-to late-twenties,” Carson said.
“So why would you be asking a pre-adolescent about these complex issues?” Carson asked.
“Why would we even be complicating their lives? Children are curious by nature, and of course, they’re going to ask questions and explore things. That doesn’t mean that they want to change their sex. And to confuse them in that way, I think, is child abuse. It certainly has nothing to do with science. These radical things are actually going to ruin people’s lives long term,” he said.
President Joe Biden recently made history by nominating Rachel Levine, born Richard Levine, as assistant secretary of health, making Levine the highest-ranking openly transgender official in the United States ever.
In 2017, Levine recommended “accelerating” cross-sex hormones for homeless teens who are suffering from gender dysphoria and estranged from their parents.
During Levine’s Senate confirmation hearing last month, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), in reference to Levine’s 2017 statements, asked if Levine supported government intervention to override parental consent to give a child “puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and or amputation surgery of breasts and genitalia.”
Levine refused to answer Paul’s questions, including one asking if Levine believed that “minors are capable of making such a life-changing decision as changing one’s sex.”
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.
Editor’s Note: The headline and first paragraph of this article of this article have been updated for clarity and to correct the inaccurate language describing harmful medical practices — such as puberty blockers and sex change surgeries — as “gender-affirming treatment.”