Republican Matt Schlapp angered his fanbase when he tweeted that transgender swimmer Lia Thomas “deserves our compassion”.
Thomas is one of the biggest headlines in professional swimming lately. The athlete previously competed as a male swimmer for three years before transitioning. Thomas is now competing as a female, and breaking school and national records on the regular.
Other female swimmers and swimming fans raised the question of whether it is fair to have a person with a huge biological advantage, competing amongst women.
The most successful and most decorated Olympian of all time and one of Swimming’s biggest stars Michale Phelps weighed in on the topic.
“I think this leads back to the organizing committees again,” Phelps told CNN. “Because it has to be a level playing field. That’s something that we all need. Because that’s what sports are. For me, I don’t know where this is going to go. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
It came as a surprise to everyone when the chairman of the American Conservative Union, Matt Schlapp tweeted showing compassion for the transgender athlete.
On his Twitter, he wrote:
“No matter what one thinks of Lia’s ability to swim with women her story deserves our compassion. It will be interesting to hear Lia’s pov [point of view] in 30 years.”
No matter what one thinks of Lia’s ability to swim with women her story deserves our compassion. It will be interesting to hear Lia’s pov in 30 years. https://t.co/NLY9f6TO6I
— Matt Schlapp (@mschlapp) March 6, 2022
Conservatives are not known for being supportive toward identity politics For that reason Schanpp’s fanbase was sure to let him know that he was in the wrong, at least from a conservative viewpoint.
Among the responses, a lot of conservative figures argued against Schnapp’s tweet.
Former professional baseball pitcher Chris Manno made sure to reply to Schnapp’s tweet in disagreement.
“If it was YOUR daughter/granddaughter who lost out on the scholarship to PENN bc “Lia’s” times were better, or your daughter who worked unimaginable hours to be National Champion only to lose to Lia, have her records obliterated, etc… Would you feel the same compassion?”
Jenna Ellis, a lawyer known for her work as a member of Donald Trump’s legal team, also disagreed with Schnapp.
This is wrong, Matt.
— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) March 8, 2022
The swimmer defended herself in an interview for Sport’s Illustrated. According to her, she feels like she belongs in the women’s team.
“I’m a woman, just like anybody else on the team,” Thomas says. “I’ve always viewed myself as just a swimmer. It’s what I’ve done for so long; it’s what I love.” She’s not thinking about wins or records, she insists. “I get into the water every day and do my best.”