McCrory keeps getting attacked
By: Jim Longworth
Last week Pat McCrory pulled up to an intersection in Charlotte, and politely stopped his car to let a man cross the street. The man looked at McCrory and started shouting that he recognized the former Governor. The shouting then turned to cursing. Oh yes, and the man, who McCrory described as about 6-foot 2-inches and built like a pro wrestler, was also carrying a tree limb with which he used to pound on the top of McCrory’s sedan. According to a police report, the man did about $600 worth of damage to McCrory’s car. Fortunately, Pat and his wife Ann (who was in the passenger seat) were not injured.
In a sense, the crosswalk attack was like a tangible metaphor for what McCrory’s life has been like these past three years. Take, for instance, what happened in Washington back in January of 2017. Pat and FOX Business anchor Lou Dobbs was strolling along a sidewalk in front of the Capitol Hilton when an angry mob gathered and chased McCrory into an alley. Within moments, Dobbs, his entourage, and D.C. police were able to rescue McCrory, but not before the former Governor had been bombarded with shouts of, “Shame on you, you anti-gay bigot! You’re a bigot and an asshole!”
It’s a sad fact, but Pat McCrory seems to have a bullseye painted on his chest, which attracts all sorts of slings, arrows, and outrageous tree limbs. However, as I’ve pointed out in past opinion columns, the attacks on McCrory are misdirected and unjustified. To this day, most people only remember McCrory for what they think was his role in passing The Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, aka HB2, aka the “Bathroom Bill,” aka the “You can only use bathrooms that correspond to your biological sex” bill. Not only are provisions of the bill often misunderstood, but so is his role in signing it. Many folks believe McCrory planned, wrote, and lobbied for HB2, a law which large corporations, big-name entertainers, and cowardly sports leagues, used as an excuse for not doing business in North Carolina. Pat told me in a past interview that he tried to stop the Republican-controlled General Assembly from passing HB2. In the end, he was forced to sign a bill that he neither sought nor supported, to adhere to provisions in the State Constitution, which prevent local governments from assuming powers not given to them by the legislature. In a nutshell, here’s what happened.
In 2016, then-Attorney General Roy Cooper was running to unseat McCrory, who had been a successful, seven-term, coalition-building Mayor of Charlotte. As Governor, Pat tried to bring that same kind of bi-partisanship to Raleigh, including working with Democrats to pass a historic $2 billion bond package that would modernize college campus facilities. He resurrected the State’s lagging economy, lowered unemployment, and under his leadership, North Carolina outpaced the nation in economic growth. Meanwhile, Donald Trump was poised to lead a GOP sweep through North Carolina. Cooper needed a miracle to beat McCrory, and Charlotte Democratic Mayor Jennifer Roberts handed it to him, gift-wrapped. She and her Council added “gender identity” as a protected class under the City’s public accommodations ordinance, and planned to enact and enforce it in a matter of days. If, for example, a business owner didn’t allow men who “identified” as women to use the women’s bathroom, then that owner would face a fine and possible jail time.
“I begged Mayor Roberts not to pass the ordinance,” Pat told me during a Triad Today interview. “I wrote her a letter saying, ‘You’re trying to find a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.’ The Attorney General should have declared the ordinance unconstitutional and intervened immediately, but he refused to do it because he was in the pocket, doing fundraisers with Mayor Roberts.”
By July of 2016, economic boycotts were piling up, but a little-known bi-partisan deal was in the works that would have removed enough controversial language from HB2 to end most of those boycotts. The compromise bill was supported by nearly every House Republican and by 10 House Democrats. However, according to a report by WBTV’s Nick Ochsner, Cooper torpedoed the effort by pressuring the 10 Dems to vote against the bill.
Cooper stood by and watched HB2 burn red-hot because he knew it was his ticket to the Governor’s Mansion. Then, after taking office, he signed into law a so-called repeal of HB2, titled, HB142, which was a cosmetic bill with no teeth, designed to placate those who had boycotted our State. Ironically, HB142 pretty much just restored the status quo and left gender identity issues up to the Courts to resolve, something McCrory had wanted from the very start.
And so, boys and girls, Roy Cooper became Governor by not enforcing the State Constitution, while Pat McCrory became a private citizen for upholding it. Cooper got where he is by keeping HB2 alive, while McCrory got where he is by trying to prevent it. Today, Roy gets to go to ribbon cuttings, while Pat gets to be cursed at and have his car bashed with tree limbs. It’s just my opinion, but I think the wrong man is being scrutinized.
Jim Longworth is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. on ABC45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 11 a.m. on WMYV (cable channel 15).