Raleigh, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory pointed to a trove of internal Democratic National Committee emails published by WikiLeaks as evidence that the political left engineered the controversy that led to House Bill 2 as a political fundraising tool.
"Well, what's most disturbing is that these emails have clearly shown something we suspected all along – and that is the state of North Carolina, the City of Charlotte and especially small businesses were being used as a pawns by Roy Cooper, by the mayor of Charlotte and by the Democratic Party on an issue that was made up purely for political purposes and to raise money," McCrory said during an impromptu news conference Tuesday.
Cooper is North Carolina's attorney general and the Democratic candidate for governor this fall against McCrory.
McCrory was referring to the same group of DNC emails made available by WikiLeaks, that forced former DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to resign.
Most of the emails in that cache that mention McCrory, Cooper or North Carolina are run-of-the-mill message development exchanges. The most florid of the lot logs McCrory's appearance on a national political talk show and refers to him as a "moronic little bigot of a tarheel governor," misspelling the term, Tar Heel.
McCrory insisted Tuesday that the emails demonstrate Democrats were trying to profit politically from the issue. One exchange envisions an anti-House Bill 2 event headlined by Vice President Joe Biden. Other emails simply respond "awesome" or give other similar feedback when a Democratic operative compiled a video or news release on the topic.
Asked whether the potential economic impact of House Bill 2 might make defending the law not worth the effort, McCory turned the question around.
"You might need to ask the mayor of Charlotte and Roy Cooper that brought up this question, not the right," McCrory said. "The media, both the statewide media and the national media, give the clear impression it was the right that created the bathroom rules."
That may be because a Republican-controlled legislature called themselves back into a special session to pass the law in one day. McCrory, a Republican, signed the measure the same day. Proponents of the measure said it was passed in response to a Charlotte ordinance that required private businesses to allow transgender individuals to use the bathroom of their choice.
"The Republican Party and this governor never heard of this issue before this year started," he said. "It was the political left that made North Carolina the epicenter of this battle, and it was clearly for political purposes, and it was also a great way for them to raise money."