The North Carolina Republican Party spoke out against Saturday’s planned march and mass rally, labeling it “nothing more than a partisan political rally.”
Party chairman Claude Pope denounced the planned march on Jones Street in a press conference Friday as a further step by the Democrats to avoid cooperation and civil political discourse.
“We can have our disagreements on policy,” Pope said. “But if Democrats want to have a seat at the table, they need to learn how to turn down some of that rhetoric and discourse.”
He said Republicans were “very interested in working with folks from all sides of the aisle.”
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Pope also called on Sen. Kay Hagan and Attorney General Roy Cooper to speak out about the Rev. William Barber II – head of the state NAACP who is helping to organize the rally – and whether they agree with his statements and his agenda.
“Are they willing to condemn the de facto leader of the North Carolina Democratic Party?” he asked. “Or are they afraid to offend their fringe liberal base?”
He said the Democratic Party’s endorsement of the march signaled that it was time for the silence from Hagan and Cooper to end.
Organizers of Saturday’s event, called the HKonJ march and mass rally, have said it will focus on more than a dozen issues, including support for public education and for the state’s historically black colleges and universities; raising the minimum wage; better health care access; turning back the 2013 election law changes in North Carolina; and the repeal of the death penalty.