Donald Trump Says People Should Use Whatever Bathrooms They Want

Updated: Apr 21, 2016 1:16 PM ET

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said Thursday that people should be allowed to use whatever bathroom they feel is appropriate, bucking conservatives in the growing national fight over laws governing bathroom access for transgender people.

Trump also said that if Caitlyn Jenner, a transgender woman and TIME 100 honoree, were to use the facilities in Trump Tower, she would be allowed to use whatever restroom she felt most comfortable in.

"There's a big move to create new bathrooms. The problem with that, it's for transgender, first of all, I think that would be discriminatory in a certain way," Trump said during an town hall on the Today show. "It would be unbelievably expensive for businesses and for the country. Leave it the way it is."

The candidate's comments come in the wake of a North Carolina law that would force transgender people to use restrooms that match the gender they were assigned at birth. Sen. Ted Cruz, Trump's main rival in the race for the Republican nomination, came out in favor of such laws in an interview with Glenn Beck.

"This is absurd," Cruz said. "The idea that grown men would be allowed alone in a bathroom with little girls—you don't need to be a behavioral psychologist to realize bad things can happen. A prudent person wouldn't allow that."

A spokesperson for North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory's campaign, Ricky Diaz, sent TIME the following statement via email in response to Trump:

"Governor McCrory has always said that North Carolina was getting along fine before the Charlotte city council passed its unneeded and overreaching ordinance. Now that it has been overturned, businesses can adopt their own policies - like Target has - instead of being mandated to allow men into women's restrooms by government. Where the governor disagrees with Mr. Trump is that bathroom and shower facilities in our schools should be kept separate and special accommodations made when needed. It's just common sense."

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