TV host Stephanie Ruhle eviscerates Republican governor over trans athlete ban in car crash interview

Stephanie Ruhle Jim Justice

MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle absolutely schooled Republican governor Jim Justice during an interview about why he signed a bill banning trans athletes from competing in school sports teams.

Ruhle is the NBC News senior business correspondent and anchor of MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle. She spoke to West Virginia governor Jim Justice on Friday (30 April), just days after he signed a bill banning transgender athletes from competing in female sports.

The law prohibits trans girls and women in West Virginia from competing on a sports team in “any public secondary school or state institution of higher education”.

During a live segment, Ruhle dressed down Justice for signing the bill and demanded he give “just one” example in West Virginia of a trans child trying to gain an unfair advantage in a sports event. She also asked why the governor would “take your time” to sign such an anti-trans bill into law.

Justice responded that he “can’t really tell you one” before trying to argue that he had experience as a “coach” which showed how boys have an “advantage” playing against girls.

“But I can tell you this, Stephanie, I’m a coach and I coach a girl’s basketball team and I can tell you, we all know – we all know what absolute advantage boys would have playing against girls,” Justice said.

Ruhle was having none of it, declaring that there were “no examples” of that happening in West Virginia. She then grilled Justice about why he would prioritise the issue over other key issues like education, healthcare, infrastructure or the economy.

Justice tried to argue that he “didn’t make it a priority”, but Ruhle immediately shot back that Justice signed – which effectively made it his priority.

He then argued that, as a “coach” and a lawmaker, he signed the bill to protect the Title IX federal civil rights protections that “girls worked so hard to obtain”. Title IX is an amendment to the Education Amendments Act that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any educational activities or programmes that receive federal funding.

Justice said he thinks there are only “12 kids maybe” in West Virginia that are “transgender-type kids”, but he did not cite any source about where he got this figure.

“I mean for crying out loud, Stephanie, I sign hundreds of bills, hundreds of bills,” he said. “This is not a priority to me. But with all of that, I would say, I think that it would impose an unfair disadvantage on the girls. So, from that standpoint, I support it.”

But like an absolute boss, Stephanie Ruhle ended the segment with an epic mic-drop line. She thanked Justice for his time on the segment and even invited him back when he could provide any evidence where women are being “disadvantaged” in West Virginia by trans kids.

“Please come back when, beyond anecdotal feelings as a coach, you can show me evidence where those young women are being disadvantaged in your state,” Ruhle said. “Because I can show you evidence about how ranking that low in education is disadvantaging young women and men in West Virginia.”

Viewers have heaped praises on Ruhle for how she called out Justice for his lack of evidence behind the new law.

Activist and author Charlotte Clymer wrote on Twitter that Stephanie Ruhle “just eviscerated” Justice over signing an anti-trans bill. She added: “This is masterful journalism. Nothing but facts.”

One person wrote that Ruhle “handed” Justice his “behind on a platter”, adding this was a fantastic example of “how you hold legislators accountable”.

Another pointed out the “moment” Justice realised he “made a mistake in appearing” on Stephanie Ruhle’s show.

Shortly after Justice signed the anti-trans bill into law, the ACLU announced it would be taking legal action against the state. The organisation tweeted: “We will see West Virginia in court.”