Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz has hit back against criticism from transgender reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, arguing that bathroom policies that allow people to choose facilities based on their gender identity "opens the door for predators."
"This is not a matter of right or left, or Democrat or Republican. This is common sense. It doesn't make sense for grown adult men, strangers, to be alone in a restroom with a little girl," Cruz said in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union."
Jenner, who identifies as a Republican, had argued in a video that concerns over molestation are unfounded.
"A trans woman in New York, I gotta take a pee," Jenner said in a video at Trump Tower in New York City, where Republican frontrunner Donald Trump had invited her.
"Anyway, oh my God, Trump International Hotel, I love this. OK, last week Donald Trump said I could take a pee anywhere in a Trump facility. I am going to go take a pee in the ladies' room."
"Thank you, Donald, I really appreciate it," Jenner added in the video. "And by the way, Ted, nobody got molested."
Cruz argued, however, that allowing men who identify as women to use women's bathrooms is "the height of political correctness."
"And frankly, the concern is not of the Caitlyn Jenners of the world, but if the law is such that any man, if he feels like it, can go in a woman's restroom and you can't ask him to leave, that opens the door for predators," Cruz said.
The Texas Senator reminded Tapper that throughout his legal career he "spent a lot of years in law enforcement dealing with child predators that are sick individuals."
"That doesn't mean that that is the people who are transgendered. But there are predators in the world, and just saying that you're a man, you can go in the girls' restroom if you feel like it, opens the door for criminals," he added.
There have been several different cases of new transgender bathroom policies in the U.S. causing controversy in the past year, from a North Carolina law that dictates people should use the bathroom that corresponds with their "biological sex," to the 1-million-strong boycott against chain store giant Target's announcement that people are free to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.
The heart of the debate has often come down to whether new bathroom policies meant to allow transgender to use the bathroom of their choice are not posing a risk of also inviting predators and molesters.
"Everyone deserves to feel like they belong. And you'll always be accepted, respected and welcomed at Target," the chain store giant has explained.
But the American Family Association's petition warns: "Target's policy is exactly how sexual predators get access to their victims. And with Target publicly boasting that men can enter women's bathrooms, where do you think predators are going to go?"