UPDATED Gov. Pat McCrory commiserated over House Bill 2 with old friends Tuesday morning when he made a 15-minute appearance on “The Big Show with John Boy and Billy” radio broadcast from Charlotte.
Introduced as “the most beat-up man in America,” McCrory played off the folksy humor of the supportive pair while acknowledging that the controversy over the LGBT law could harm him politically.
He blamed the blow-back over the law on political correctness and the news media. McCrory continued to insist that the core of the bill was about protecting public safety by requiring transgender people to use the restroom that coincides with their birth sex not their gender identity. The law also rolled back other anti-discrimination protections for gay and transgender people.
The governor said he has even been asked not to attend some events because of the controversy, in which he is the central player in an election year.
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“And now, sadly, in our nation if you have disagreement and you’re on the wrong side of that disagreement, according to the thought police, you’re dispensed of. You’re exiled,” he said. “I’ve even had some people call me, ‘Please don’t, governor, don’t show up to this event because I have people who disagree with you and we don’t want it.”
Although close to 200 private sector leaders have expressed opposition to HB2, McCrory said some business people have told him they agree with him but are afraid that saying so publicly would hurt their companies.
“That’s not America,” McCrory said. “Society is changing quickly and anybody who gets in the way is in trouble. And I might be in trouble. I might be looking for a side job over here.”
He also refuted Democratic challenger Roy Cooper’s charge that McCrory has embarrassed the state by signing HB2, which was prompted by a Charlotte ordinance expanding LGBT rights.
“We haven’t embarrassed North Carolina by talking about something logically,” McCrory said. “It’s logic but it’s not politically correct, apparently.”
Update: McCrory covered a lot of ground in the interview, blaming Fox News and Meet the Press for how they interviewed him, suggesting McClatchy newspapers boycott the state and stop printing, and claiming Bruce Springsteen had only sold 8,000 tickets when he canceled his performance in Greensboro in protest of HB2.
The Greensboro News & Record subsequently reported that, according to the Greensboro Coliseum, the concert had sold more than 15,000 tickets and fewer than 100 were left.
Cooper campaign spokesman Ford Porter called the governor’s remarks rambling, and said he appeared to be more interested in attacking the news media and performers who have canceled performances.
“HB2 is taking our state backward and causing real harm to our economy,” Porter said. “It's time for the governor to set his political agenda aside and put North Carolina first.”