“If he says he’s a woman, then he’s a woman,” perennial presidential candidate Rick Santorum told Buzzfeed. The website asked Santorum about Jenner’s landmark interview during a roundtable Q&A at the South Carolina Republican Party Convention.

Santorum elaborated:

“My responsibility as a human being is to love and accept everybody. Not to criticize people for who they are. I can criticize, and I do, for what people do, for their behavior. But as far as for who they are, you have to respect everybody, and these are obviously complex issues for businesses, for society, and I think we have to look at it in a way that is compassionate and respectful of everybody.”

On whether or not trans women should be able to use public women’s restrooms:

“So these are tough issues. I haven’t got into the whole issue, and I don’t think the federal government should get into the whole issue of bathrooms. I think those are things that the business community and local agencies and organizations should deal with.”

Santorum’s softening seems to be a broader trend among GOP presidential candidates: Ted Cruz recently said that he would love his daughters “just as much” if they were gay, and Marco Rubio said he would “attend a gay wedding.”

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But ultimately, the “softening” is just a reworking of talking points, and not policy. It’s not exactly radical to acknowledge that you should “respect” another human being, or that you would love your daughter. Rubio and Cruz still don’t support gay marriage, and Santorum is clear that he doesn’t support laws that would facilitate equal rights. Leaving civil rights up to local government and “the business community” is just a friendly reworking of familiar GOP policies.

Image via Getty.