McCrory: Political left pushed social issues, not me

Posted December 29, 2016
Updated December 30, 2016

— Gov. Pat McCrory on Thursday laid the blame for his lost re-election bid at the feet of liberal advocacy groups that gained media attention by highlighting social issues, most notably a controversial state law limiting transgender rights.

"It's been a four-year battle against radical, left-wing groups," McCrory said in a half-hour interview with WRAL News three days before he leaves office. "There was a coordinated approach to tar me, to stain me, and it never stopped."

While saying he has few regrets from his four years as governor – "A do-over means you assume you'd have different results," he said – he said he does wish he had pressed the Charlotte City Council more early this year not to pass a nondiscrimination ordinance that required businesses in the city to allow transgender individuals to use public bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.

A month later, state lawmakers quickly adopted House Bill 2, nullifying the Charlotte ordinance while setting a statewide nondiscrimination policy that excluded the LGBT community. The state law created a national firestorm that cost North Carolina business expansions, athletic events, concerts and conventions and made the state the punch line of numerous jokes.

Media became "infatuated" with the gender identity issue, McCrory said, and the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBT advocacy group, fanned the flames of the controversy.

"They were going to make North Carolina the epicenter of an issue none of us had ever heard of before, and it's a sad commentary that that epicenter continues to remain," he said.

"I think our country ought to protect people from being discriminated against based on sexual orientation, but I also think our national ought to have clear rules on how we define gender – boy and girl," he said. "I think that's the middle ground."

McCrory called lawmakers back to Raleigh last week to repeal House Bill 2 after the Charlotte City Council rescinded its local ordinance, but the effort failed amid frustration and recriminations on both sides of the issue.

"I was going through deja vu," he said, noting he was unsuccessful three times this year trying to broker similar deals. "There's a lot of people on the left that want this issue to keep going. There's a lot of money being raised on it."

Even with House Bill as part of his legacy, the governor said his administration has a laundry list of accomplishments to point to with pride, from cutting taxes to raising teacher pay to building a reserve fund that will help meet emergency needs in the future.

"We're leaving the state in much better shape than when we arrived," he said. "We inherited an economy and a government that was totally broken, that was full of corruption, and we fixed it. We accomplished more in these four years than, I think, any administration has in the last 25 years."

Since conceding the race three weeks ago, McCrory said, he hasn't had time to decide his next career step, although it's been widely speculated that he will land a job in President-elect Donald Trump's administration. He said he's had "wonderful talks" with Trump and counts Vice President-elect Mike Pence as a close friend, but he wants to sit down with his wife, Ann, to discuss their future.

"I have to make sure I feel comfortable in what I want to do next regarding public service," McCrory said, refusing to rule out another political campaign or a return to the private sector. "I just want to fulfill my potential and make a positive difference."

Remaining in politics has its drawbacks, he acknowledged, saying political rhetoric and vitriolic actions by advocates across the spectrum has become increasingly difficult to accept. He recounted how a man approached him as he left a church baptism, made an obscene gesture and spewed a string of expletives at him.

"The coarseness of the dialogue from the outside, I've noticed, has gotten much tougher. It gets to me," he said. "The people who speak of wanting tolerance, I find, tend to be the least tolerant people there are."


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  • Stacie Hagwood Jan 2, 2017
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    What a whiner. And the classic response of an abuser, as well. "If you hadn't done "x," I wouldn't have been forced to do "y." Own your choices, Pat.

  • Betty Schmenks Dec 30, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    Oh, you mean like Clinton and Obama?

  • Mike Voiland Dec 30, 2016
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    For the dunces on this board who simply will not believe that the NCGOP and McCrory enacted any unconstitutional laws, please chew on these:
    -Racial gerrymandering of congressional and state election districts = unconstitutional
    -County election district gerrymandering = unconstitutional
    -Mandating physician statement during pre-abortion ultrasounds = unconstitutional
    -Voter ID/Access law = unconstitutional
    -Amendment I (Marriage Amendment) = unconstitutional
    -Having retention elections for sitting N.C. Supreme Court justices = unconstitutional -Overly restricting protests at the legislative building = unconstitutional

    And for Patsy to claim he didn't push social issues, I think that ANY person with a brain would know that signing HB2 into law as he did constituted "pushing" a social issue. Go away, Pat. Please just go away.

  • Nicolle Leney Dec 30, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    Maybe do some reading on those "laws." For example, the Voter ID law was overturned because of HOW they wrote the law (http://electionlawblog.org/wp-content/uploads/nc-4th.pdf).

    The GA specifically requested voting data by RACE before writing parts of the law and they changed previously written parts of the first draft after receiving the data.

    They literally tried to DEFEND their changes for the Sunday early voting changes by saying that "counties with Sunday voting in 2014 were disproportionately black' and 'disproportionately Democratic.'"

    The Court's opinion noted "Thus, in what comes as close to a smoking gun as we are likely to see in modern times, the State's very justification for a challenged statute hinges explicitly on race -- specifically its concern that African Americans, who had overwhelmingly voted for Democrats, had too much access to the franchise."And that DOESN'T violate any constitutional rights???

  • Marta Miller Dec 30, 2016
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    The General Assembly voted for HB2, NOT the people of North Carolina.

  • Mark Leventry Dec 30, 2016
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    Almost everyone is complaining about Pat McCrory. When he became governor the state of North Carolina was broke. We had to borrow money from the federal government to pay unemployment and I couldn't get my tax return until weeks after I filed because the state had to wait for others to pay before they could send out refunds. Now the state is in the black again and actually had money set aside for disaster's such as hurricane Matthew and the damage caused by black lives matter. Let's see how long it takes Roy Cooper to bankrupt the state again. Then we will see what everyone says about him. Bet he doesn't get reelected.

  • Steven Reynolds Dec 30, 2016
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    True to Republican ideals to the end. Always blame someone else for your failure instead of the person in the mirror.

  • Chad Stinner Dec 30, 2016
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    Really? Pat, this wasn't about politics. It was about greed (Duke energy Ash pits) and desperately trying to hang onto a way of life from the 1940's.

    You played dirty almost every single step. If you had not, I would have respected you but you lost all respect with how you defended Duke Power and HB2.

  • William Patterson Dec 30, 2016
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    nothing is as unattractive as someone who blames others for his short comings....so glad he LOST

  • Dave Elliott Dec 30, 2016
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    Considering that the small blue areas of the state are where most of the people live and where most of the tax revenue from the state comes from, they should have a bigger say in how this state is run, but since the Republican cheaters unfairly gerrymandered the state, the General Assembly is completely out of whack with how the state should be represented. There should be a 50/50 split it this swing state. You have to admit, the Republican super majority is completely unrepresentative of the true political leanings of this state.