‘Don’t Change the Conversation’: Senator Grills Biden’s Education Secretary Over Title IX Changes

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

For the first time since the Biden administration announced its controversial changes to Title IX, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona was on Capitol Hill. 

While he was there for the Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing to review the fiscal year 2025 budget request for the U.S. Department of Education, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) used the opportunity to press Cardona on the Title IX changes that will take effect this summer.

On Tuesday’s show, Megyn was joined by attorneys Julian Epstein and Lexie Rigden to discuss the exchange between Hyde-Smith and Cardona and how radical gender ideology could impact the 2024 election.

Title IX Takedown

Under the new Title IX rules – which apply to colleges, elementary schools, and high schools that receive federal funding – ‘sex’ discrimination will include discrimination based on gender identity. That paves the way for people to use the locker rooms and bathrooms of their choosing regardless of their biological sex.

In a nearly six-minute back and forth, Hyde-Smith challenged Cardona on the “many troubling aspects of this new rule, like its weakening of due process protections, redefining the word ‘sex’ to encompass gender identity, and compelling speech.” 

“With the new rule redefining the word ‘sex,’ what does your Department have to say about how this rule will impact biological females,” she asked. “I’m thinking specifically about how it will allow transgender students to choose any bathroom, any locker room they wish, therefore eliminating safe spaces for women, and even pushing women out of athletics altogether. Do you agree they’re eliminating those safe places when they allow transgenders to choose what bathroom and locker room they want?” 

Cardona accused the senator of “trying to create” division and said his job is to “protect all students.” Not backing down, Hyde-Smith asked the secretary if “all students” include girls. He did not provide a straight answer, instead saying “students who are LGBTQ” have “historically… been under attack” and, therefore, need protection. 

Once again, Hyde-Smith wasn’t having it. “No one is attacking anyone right now,” she said. “We are talking about school safety and girls’ locker rooms and bathrooms… So, you don’t need to change the conversation that somebody is attacking someone.”

Picking and Choosing

Megyn praised the first-term senator for having “the guts and the smarts to ask him about the Title IX abomination” that happened late last month. “She got in his grill,” she noted. “These are agency regulations he changed without the help of any lawmakers — no lawmaker, no representative of ours has blessed changing the definition of women, changing the right of biological men to absolutely, in all cases access the locker rooms and bathrooms of young girls, K through 12, and college as well.”

She believes Cardona, meanwhile, missed the point. “How about girls,” Megyn asked. “Girls have been marginalized, girls are the victims of over 90 percent of all sexual assaults… and he’s like, ‘Biological boys posing as girls? 100 percent of those are girls, so there is no problem. I deny there is a problem.'”

While Cardona claimed he cannot pick and choose which students he protects, Rigden argued he is doing just that. “He’s choosing to protect transgender students that want to use the opposite gender’s bathroom,” she explained. “There aren’t that many of these students out there, so the priority should be protecting girls and protecting the sanctity of the women’s locker room.”

2024 Implications

Megyn asked Epstein, who served as Democratic chief counsel for the House Judiciary Committee during the 1998 impeachment hearings of President Bill Clinton, how voters in his party really feel about this issue. “Do you think Democrats support this,” she  asked. “Do you think they think this is a good idea or are they just too afraid about blowback in their lives to speak out more forcefully against it?”

He is inclined to believe it is the latter. “I think a lot of Democrats have the common sense to know this is just nonsense, the idea that biological men can walk into women’s restrooms or participate in women’s sports,” Epstein said. “Many on the left have just become too intimidated because of the flying monkeys of social media to just say what’s right.”

Epstein said a certain faction of the Democrat Party has moved from the principle of “treating everyone with respect, tenderness, care, and dignity” to “listening to the intersectional leftist promoting this DEI ideology that if you claim somehow you’re oppressed, no rules apply to you.”

This is an issue that Epstein believes is dividing the left. “Cardona was just pathetic in that response… He avoided the issue of whether men should be able to go into women’s private spaces because they claim that they identify as female,” he explained. “This is why I think you are seeing a realignment, a massive shift of particularly working class voters leaving the Democratic Party.”

And this is an issue that Epstein believes can propel Donald Trump to victory in November. “I believe Trump is going to win the election,” he said. “And I think this is one of the reasons that Trump will win the election.”

Megyn agreed. “This issue has gotten people like me, who are independent and right-leaning but not necessarily the biggest Trump fans on Earth, to be Trump voters,” she concluded. “For me, this issue alone has done it.”

You can check out Megyn’s interview with Epstein and Rigden by tuning in to episode 779 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.