Raleigh, N.C. — As Charlotte leaders waited Thursday night to see if violence would return to their city, the head of the state Republican Party was calling Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts "a disgrace" on Twitter, accusing her of putting her city's citizens at risk for political points against Gov. Pat McCrory.
GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse made his remarks in exchanges with retiring Rep. Tricia Cotham, D-Mecklenburg, and Democratic campaign strategist Perry Woods.
"I was talking about that disgrace of A mayor that hates the gov so much she puts her citizens at risk," Woodhouse tweeted to Cotham, "or she is 100% incompetent."
"The mayor: refused extra law officers b/c @PatMcCroryNC offered it, refused to call state of emergency & earlier refused curfew," Woodhouse tweeted to Woods.
Roberts, a Democrat, and Republican Gov. Pat McCrory had squared off earlier in the week over a controversial proposal to repeal Charlotte's anti-discrimination ordinance and part or all of House Bill 2. But the two leaders appeared congenial at a news conference Thursday, even complimenting each other's work on the crisis that followed the Tuesday shooting of Keith Scott.
Asked Thursday morning whether she waited too long to call in state help that was offered Wednesday, Roberts said neither she nor her law enforcement leaders had any indication they should expect the violence that occurred.
"It's something that we can't anticipate," said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney, who appeared with Roberts at the briefing.
"We are a team here in Charlotte," Roberts said. "I rely on my experts to give me the appropriate advice at the appropriate time for the appropriate resources that will be needed. I was in constant contact with the chief, both chief of police and the fire chief, medic, all the folks who are our first responders. We were in constant contact. We made the decision collaboratively when those resources were needed at the appropriate time."
Asked later Thursday whether he thought the city waited too long to request assistance, McCrory replied, "I'm never going to judge the people on the ground."
Woodhouse defended his Twitter comments by pointing to editorials and columns that have criticized Roberts as "at sea" in handling the crisis.
"We do not care to overly inject partisan politics into this debate," said Woodhouse, "but the decisions of Mayor Roberts show she is in way over her head.
"It is not exactly a secret that many Republicans highly question Mayor Roberts' ability and motives after she began the HB2 fight by insisting the bathroom provision be in the Charlotte ordinance despite pleas from the governor and the legislature to not include that provision," Woodhouse continued. "It is fair to question many of Mayor Roberts' decisions and wonder if her partisan view did not effect [sic] good decision making, and if it did, that would be disgraceful."
The state Democratic Party countered Woodhouse's accusations of hyper-partisanship with its own accusations.
“While state and local leaders were focused on ensuring peace in Charlotte, the NC GOP and McCrory campaign staff attempted to undermine local leadership and incite fear. What a disgrace," said party spokesman Dave Miranda, who also noted that Woodhouse had not said anything about a controversial statement by Republican 9th District Congressman Robert Pittenger.
"It’s clear that members of Governor McCrory’s campaign team and the state Republican Party are intent on destabilizing a tense situation – even contradicting the Governor in the process. These staffers should be held accountable for their actions,” Miranda said.