Donald Trump’s position on gay marriage is “evolving,” the real-estate mogul told openly gay MSNBC host Thomas Roberts in an interview on Saturday.
Trump was in Moscow for the Miss Universe peageant, which is a joint venture put on by NBCUniversal and Trump. Roberts is co-hosting the event.
The choice of Moscow as a host city was not without controversy for both Trump and the Miss Universe organization. Russia has faced strong criticism over its anti-gay policies, especially ahead of the 2014 Olympic Games.
“Perhaps we should have known and we didn’t, and after we signed it became quite clear,” Trump told Roberts, referring to the uproar over the decision to host the event in Russia. “We have a lot of gay people who work at Miss Universe, and we said, ‘What do you think?’ And they said, ‘We want to go. We want to show our stuff.’”
Roberts, already in tuxedo pants for the evening’s proceedings, pushed Trump on the issue of same-sex marriage, asking whether his outspoken opposition to Russia’s anti-gay laws has influenced his view of the debate over gay rights in the U.S.
“I think really what you have is a very changing stance, and you see it changing very rapidly. If you go back 10 years ago it’s very different,” Trump responded, speaking of public opinion on gay marriage. Trump also pointed to high-profile politicians, including President Obama, coming out in support of same-sex marriage.
When asked about his own evolution on the issue of gay marriage, Trump echoed a sentiment he has said in the past: “I think I’m evolving, and I think I’m a very fair person, but I have been for traditional marriage. I am for traditional marriage, I am for a marriage between a man and a woman.”
The Miss Universe pageant, co-hosted by Roberts and Mel B, airs at 9 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC.