State Politics

McCrory talks Trump, House Bill 2 on CNN

Pat McCrory listens to discussion during a Council of State meeting in Raleigh on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016.
Pat McCrory listens to discussion during a Council of State meeting in Raleigh on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. cliddy@newsobserver.com

Former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory appeared on “New Day” on CNN Monday to weigh in on Donald Trump’s feud with outgoing CIA Director John Brennan and Georgia Rep. John Lewis, as well as House Bill 2.

Guest host Poppy Harlow first asked McCrory to give his opinion of Trump’s Twitter rant against the CIA director.

Trump questioned Sunday whether Brennan was the person who leaked an unverified dossier of documents alleging connections among Trump, his campaign and Russia, but he provided no evidence. That was just hours after Brennan said on “Fox News Sunday” that Trump lacks a full understanding of the threat Russia poses to the United States, highlighting a strained relationship between Trump and U.S. intelligence agencies.

On CNN, McCrory said Trump “is a fighter” who surrounds himself with a Cabinet of “diplomatic, well-qualified, diversified” people such as Mike Pence, the vice president-elect, who brings “calmness to a situation.”

“It’s almost like a good-cop, bad-cop type of situation,” McCrory said of Trump and Pence.

“I think (Trump) is saying if you swing at the president, he is going to swing back hard,” McCrory said. “but also have people around him who ... rebuild the bridges.”

McCrory also said the briefings included in the unverified dossier should never have been public.

“As a governor for four years, when I had briefings, I assumed those briefings were confidential and would not get out to the media,” McCrory said.

McCrory also was asked to give his assessment of the feud between Trump and Lewis, a Democrat who was a key leader of the civil rights movement.

Lewis said Sunday on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” that he does not believe Trump’s presidency is legitimate and alleged that Russia helped Trump gain the White House, though he did not offer evidence. Trump was quick to fire back, again on Twitter, criticizing Lewis’ performance as a congressman by saying that his district is in bad shape and is infested with crime. Trump said Lewis was “all talk, talk, talk – no action or results.”

McCrory said he had just finished a tough election for governor, which he lost to Roy Cooper, and he said he still has questions about it. But he said he believes Cooper’s election was legitimate.

“My replacement, the new governor of North Carolina, is the legitimate governor of North Carolina,” he said. “That should never be questioned by another elected official.”

McCrory said he feels the same way about Trump’s election, saying that no congressman, including Lewis, should question the legitimacy of elections.

After Cooper won the governorship according to initial vote counts on Election Day, McCrory joined a filing for a statewide recount of the governor’s election on Nov. 22 before conceding the election to Cooper on Dec. 5.

And McCrory said he supported Trump’s criticism of Lewis.

“I am supportive of him swinging back when you need to,” McCrory said. “That’s been his technique during the campaign. That’s obviously going to be his technique and attitude when he’s president of the United States. The people knew that when they elected him.”

The topic of House Bill 2 then came up. When Harlow asked him whether the eight other states where similar bills have been offered should proceed with caution, McCrory said he doesn’t think transgender access is a state issue and that the nation’s highest court will make the decision.

“What I anticipate is the U.S. Supreme Court is going to decide this very, very complex decision which I think will apply to the 1965 U.S. Civil Rights Act and how you define sex in the future or gender in the future,” he said. “I think this is a national issue, not a state issue, on how you define the 1965 Civil Rights Act ... I think it needs to be decided at the federal level.”

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