Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said his state will not yield to “blackmail” from President Barack Obama, after the administration on Friday released a directive notifying public school officials that transgender students must be permitted to use the bathroom and locker room facilities corresponding with their gender identity.
“I believe it is the biggest issue facing families and schools in America since prayer was taken out of public schools,” Patrick told reporters.
Obama’s public school bathroom policy “will divide the country not along political lines but along family values and school districts,” Patrick said.
“He says he’s going to withhold funding if schools do not follow the policy,” he added. “Well, in Texas, he can keep his 30 pieces of silver. We will not yield to blackmail from the president of the United States.”
Patrick noted that Texas public schools recieve $10 billion of federal funds over a two-year budget, a majority of that going towards free breakfast and lunch programs.
“So Barack Obama, if schools don’t knuckle down to force girls showering with boys and force 8-year-old girls to have to endure boys coming into their bathroom, he’s taking money from the poorest of the poor,” Patrick said. “The president of the United States will be ending the free breakfast and free lunch program. That’s what he’s saying.”
Patrick said he received a standing ovation Friday before “a number of caucuses” when he declared that his state “will not be blackmailed by the president’s 30 pieces of silver.”
“We will not sell out our children to the federal government. And the people of Texas and the Legislature will find a way to find as much of that money as we can if we are forced to. There is no compromise on this issue,” he said. “This is a modern-day, come-and-take-it issue, and the president of the United States, like the superintendent of Fort Worth, is not coming and taking our children.”
“The president is going to find Democrat families will push back against this, Republican families, black families, white families, brown families. This goes against the values of so many people. It has nothing to do with anything being against a transgender child or a gay child. Nothing to do. We address harassment and bullying in the country and in the state,” he said. “This has everything to do with keeping the federal government out of local issues. And by the way, I hope some of you go back and interview some of the people who are shouting me down Tuesday when they said Dan Patrick should stay out of local issues. First of all, I knew it wasn’t a local issue but I have a feeling that some of those same hypocrites today will be cheering the president.”