Fielding questions Wednesday from Baton Rouge schoolchildren, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy affirmed that he supports Donald Trump as the likely Republican nominee for president, though he won’t take bets about who will win.
“I’m a Republican, and I want a Republican to win,” Cassidy told the students at Parkview Baptist School. “I’m not sure Mr. Trump will win, but we’ll have to see.”
If called upon, Louisiana’s junior senator said he would even campaign for Trump, saying the controversial businessman is vastly preferable to likely Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton.
Cassidy spoke to more than 200 students in the main sanctuary of Parkview Baptist Church. Cassidy is giving a series of talks during a week-long Senate recess.
Cassidy has indicated in the past that he thought he could work with Trump if he became president. On Wednesday, he complimented Trump for his willingness to junk the federal health care law for a less government-directed alternative and his generally business-friendly approach. He lodged a few criticisms as well, notably on border control.
“What do you think about Trump’s wall?” one student asked him.
“The wall is impractical,” Cassidy said, giving several examples of pros and cons of a wall.
“In some places the wall really works and in other places, the wall doesn’t work really well at all,” he added.
Cassidy also said he can’t see how Trump is going to get Mexico to pay for the wall. Still, he said, Trump is onto something.
“The American people think that the United States should be able to control its border. And if the United States can’t control its border, what else can’t it do?” Cassidy asked. “I think what Trump is tapping into is if the government can’t do something as simple as that, then maybe we need to something radically different.”
He said such problems make clear why it’s no accident that Trump and Sanders are doing so well.
“The two folks who say throw all the bums out are getting so much popular support,” he said.
He predicted the presidential election will be decided based on who gets the most support from women. He then asked only Parkview’s female students to raise their hands, indicating whether they support Trump or Clinton. Most of the hands shot up for Trump, and only few went up for Clinton .
Cassidy cautioned that not just any women will decide the election, just women in swing or “purple” states.
“Right now, Donald is not doing really well with women in those states,” he said. “Now, everybody has underestimated Trump. Everybody has. So we really need to see is if Donald can appeal to women in those states who are not pleased with him.”
Cassidy regularly connected what he was saying to dysfunction in the Washington, D.C.
“Washington, D.C. doesn’t know better than we,” Cassidy declared. “Typically, the American people know better than Washington, D.C., so why should they tell us how to live our lives?”
Students didn’t shy away from asking Cassidy about other controversies, including the current debate about transgender individuals and bathrooms.
While he said he has compassion for their plight, Cassidy said he’s against allowing transgender individuals to use the restrooms where they feel the most comfortable. Instead, a person’s biological gender should dictate where they go: “If you have a penis, you go into a man’s room,” he said.
“If we start allowing people to say, ‘Well I choose to go in this bathroom based on my preference,’ then most likely you are going to get someone who just wished to go into a girl’s bathroom to look at girls,” he said.