"Half-True," "False" and "Moving violation" (putting something forward even though he knows better, or has no reasonable basis in fact). These are ratings from independent, non-partisan fact-checkers. They refer to Gov. Pat McCrory's claims of presenting the "truth" about House Bill 2. The verdict in the court of public opinion: the governor’s credibility comes up short.
"We have not taken away any rights that have currently existed in any city in North Carolina, from Raleigh to Durham to Chapel Hill to Charlotte," McCrory pleaded at a news conference. "Every city and every corporation have the exact same nondiscrimination policy this week as they had two weeks ago."
There is practically no one -- even the bill's most fervent backers, who agrees. If the bill only did what McCrory claims, why was it needed?
When asked about sections of the bill dealing with equal access to public accommodations, which essentially revokes Greensboro’s fair housing ordinance and Raleigh’s policies on municipal contracts, McCrory pleaded ignorance.
"You're blindsiding me with a question," McCrory complained to the reporter who asked the question. “You're telling me something I’m not aware of."
McCrory's plea of ignorance, and lashing out at the news media, is both inappropriate and baseless. It wasn’t the press, after all, that drafted and passed the bill.
- Didn’t the governor read the bill himself?
- Didn’t he and his staff work with the leaders of the General Assembly, his fellow Republicans after all, in drafting and modifying the bill as it worked it way to his desk?
- Didn’t his legal team review the bill, check it for intended -- and unintended -- consequences and provide him with a detailed analysis before he signed it into law?
- Didn’t he sign the bill, giving it his testament of approval, with full knowledge of what was in the 5-page piece of legislation?
It is disingenuous for McCrory to blame, as he did earlier this week, any confusion about the bill on outsiders and the news media. To say, as he did, that it was a "well coordination campaign" that was "distorting the truth" of a "basic, common sense bill" is wrong.
McCrory needs to gather his staff and the legislative leadership, read the bill and answer some basic questions. We’ll offer a few for starters:
- Who was responsible for drafting the bill?
- Who in the governor's office was responsible for the content of the bill?
- Why does legislation that was supposed to address concerns about non-discrimination and restroom facilities, deal with other matters such as: the minimum wage; municipal contracting; and legal recourse in state courts for discrimination complaints?
- Did McCrory ask to have other matters, aside from those directly addressing the concerns of the Charlotte non-discrimination ordinance, included in the bill?
- If not McCrory, who?
- Did McCrory approve of including these other matters?
- Before McCrory signed the bill, who briefed him about the contents of the bill and what did they tell him?
- What written materials were given to the governor about the final form of the bill, before he signed it? Provide those materials for public review.
We look forward to McCrory's prompt and complete reply -- that will merit a "Green Light" for veracity from WRAL News' fact check and a "TRUE" on the Politifact Truth-O-Meter.
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