In Iowa, Trump Uses Dan Gable To Make Anti-Trans Jokes

Photo by Starting Line staff

Former President and 2024 GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, who is under indictment federally and in the state of New York on unrelated charges, used a Friday event in Council Bluffs to attack transgender people and tied one of those attacks to Iowa wrestling legend Dan Gable.

Trump brought up Gable, an Olympic gold medalist from Waterloo who is considered one of the greatest freestyle wrestlers ever, to make a point of why he doesn’t support trans women and girls playing sports with the gender they identify as.

In his scenario, Trump said he could become the greatest women’s wrestling team coach ever if he asked Gable, who is 74, to come out of retirement. 

“I’d say, ‘Dan, I want you to wrestle on the team—just say you’re a woman, Dan. Just get a few of your friends; we will have the greatest wrestling team in history, Dan,” Trump said.

 Trump awarded Gable the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2020.

Before his remarks on Gable, and as part of a larger diatribe, Trump said he would sign an executive order to cut federal funding for any school pushing what he described as “transgender insanity”—otherwise known as schools that create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students.

Leaning further into the Republican Party’s culture war of the moment, Trump also said “I will keep men out of women’s sports” signaling support for a federal ban on trans women and trans girls playing team sports. 

Iowa passed a state-level ban on trans athletes playing team sports with women and girls in 2022, and so have more than 20 other states since 2020, even as there’s no actual count on the number of trans athletes participating in public school sports and the number could be fewer than 100 nationwide, according to one expert.

The targeting of trans athletes has been part of a concerted, coordinated, and well-funded effort from Republican lawmakers and right-wing activists, who’ve exploited the virtual non-issue to stoke fear and distract from real issues, scapegoat transgender individuals, and unleash a torrent of anti-LGBTQ legislation nationwide, including limits on how teachers can interact with LGBTQ students, bans targeting books that include LGBTQ characters, and even bans on gender-affirming health care for minors.

During his speech, Trump referred to gender-affirming care—a safe, effective, and sometimes life-saving form of health care—as “the mutilation of children.”

Gender-affirming care is an all-encompassing term used to describe a range of treatments to help transgender individuals deal with gender dysphoria, including social interventions and hormone-related treatments that affirm a child’s gender identity. Notably, minors are not allowed to undergo gender-affirming care without parental involvement and consent, and the process does not include “bottom surgery,” and only rare includes “top surgery.”

Most major American medical associations support gender-affirming care and an overwhelming body of research shows that such treatment improves the mental health of transgender youth and saves lives.

Iowa Democrats Rapid Response Director Dawson McNamara-Bloom called out Trump’s rhetoric after the event.

“Instead of focusing on lowering costs and creating good-paying jobs for Iowans, Donald Trump is leading the MAGA charge to attack LGBTQ youth, make schools less safe, and force politics into the classroom,” he said. “No amount of stoking divisive culture wars will change the fact that Trump was a failed president who broke his promises to Iowans.”

Trump has previously made similar anti-trans comments while on the campaign trail, but a recent stop in North Carolina revealed how insincere he and the rest of the field really are about something they’ve made a pressing issue.

“It’s amazing how strongly people feel about that. You see I’m talking about cutting taxes and people go like that,” Trump said while imitating timid applause. “I talk about transgender and everyone goes crazy. Who would have thought? Fives years ago, you didn’t know what the hell it was.”


by Ty Rushing

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1 Comment on "In Iowa, Trump Uses Dan Gable To Make Anti-Trans Jokes"

  • I do not see how any Iowans or other Republicans could in all good conscience support Trump and his weird, strange at best, diatribe against good people. He’s barking up the wrong tree trying to tie Biden and Smith to drugs. He must be planning to give lots of people including Hunter Biden the death sentence once he is enthroned again as president. I feel sorry for you Iowa if you even give this orange clown small man consideration to head our government!

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