Yesterday, BuzzFeed reported
that, on Friday, just before Hurricane Matthew touched down in North Carolina, Governor Pat McCrory was campaigning with Family Research Council president Tony Perkins to gain the vote and support of anti-LGBTQ pastors across North Carolina.
Even worse for McCrory: they had audio
A lot of the audio isn't exactly surprising, as the FRC and other evangelical groups have been standing by McCrory
during the HB 2 debacle even as his base has fled him. But the timing of the event—right before a major natural disaster hit the state—as well as McCrory's candor during the meeting shows a politician who realizes he's in trouble.
During the forty-five-minute recording of the stop on the FRC's "Values Bus Tour"—which BuzzFeed notes happened after McCrory sent out a press releasing that Matthew posed an "immediate threat to human life"—McCrory cast himself as a martyr, casually compared what's happened in North Carolina since HB 2 passed to "purges" and the George Orwell novel 1984
, and likened his battle with the Human Rights Campaign to the movie Anchorman
. Yep, we're serious.
Here are some of the weirdest excerpts from the event.
On Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin:
"But I had two other people in the office. He said, ‘Governor, we’re going to make North Carolina the epicenter.’ I always found that to be a unique word, ‘the epicenter’ of the transgender bathroom movement for the United States of America. … I can’t remember if I got this late or not, but he brought up, or the name that’s been brought up was George Wallace. And my chief of staff, who is African American and his mom and dad were civil rights pioneers in North Carolina, he about got up, it was getting pretty tense. And Thomas Stith, who I just admire, he’s my chief of staff, he said, ‘How dare you compare this to the civil rights movement?’ And it was pretty tense, and then he pointed his finger at me and I said, ‘I don’t
think you need to point your finger at the governor,’ and he had to put his finger down. I asked him to apologize."
On HB 2 and Anchorman:
"But this guy’s good, in fact when [Griffin] left the room, I was thinking of the movie Anchorman
don’t know if you’ve ever seen the movie Anchorman
, but there’s a scene in Anchorman
where all the
different news groups have this big fight, all the different news teams from all the competing channels,
and they have a fight where they literally stab each other and cut each other’s arms off. It’s kind of a
mockery. And do all these things, and they get back to the newsroom and Will Ferrell goes, ‘You know,
that kind of escalated, didn’t it?’"
On the pro-HB 2 effort being funded by major corporations:
"And everything that guy [Griffin] told me nine months ago happen has happened times twenty. So the thirty-two-million-dollar budget that they have. I’ve done some research on this group. They’re funded by major corporations, including banks here in North Carolina, including Microsoft, including Apple, including Nike, including PayPal, including Salesforce, who’s the real leader in this, he’s the one that went after Pence in Indiana. They’re good."
Worth noting: McCrory is also funded by Microsoft and "banks here in North Carolina."
On losing for reasons that … aren't … HB 2?
“And most headlines are saying McCrory is either tied or losing because of HB 2. And I suppose if I lost, the national media will say, governor, in fact The New York Times
and the Washington Post
were saying today that the only reason McCrory’s in a tough race is because of HB 2. I happen to disagree with that. I actually was catching grief through my whole tenure.”
On George Orwell:
“But there’s an Orwellian concept going on here, where what’s happening to me and my wife, and they plan to do this with other governors, they’re doing this to the business community, is they’re purging any dissent on this issue. It’s almost like the George Orwell book 1984
, where if you disagree with big brother, or you go against the thought police, if you remember that book, you will be purged and you will disappear."
"But the point I’m making is they purge you. And by the way, it’s very similar to being purged for your faith. You know, you’re afraid to bring up your faith often. I’m a very strong Christian, I have a Bible study and class at my, every Wednesday morning, which I don’t talk about, that’s private, because I don’t allow politics to even be brought up in my Bible study. Because I want to be treated normally. And when they do a special prayer for me, I’m going no, I want a special prayer for each individual in my Bible study. They’re dealing with their own problems; they just don’t read about it in the newspaper. That’s the big difference. But they purge you. And my wife, for example, in Charlotte, she primarily stays in Charlotte. She’s been disinvited to charity events, and basically, they call her up and they say, ‘You know, you better not come. You better not come.’ … And so the purging is out there, the purging of norms, the purging of money, the purging of being embarrassed, the purging of being called a bigot. Which is an insult to me, because I’m the farthest thing from a bigot. I love everyone, and I’m going to treat everyone equally. I’m going to treat people who are transgender. I’m going to hug them and say I love them."
On Roy Cooper:
“And my opponent, just to let you know, is Roy Cooper. He only uses the word discrimination
. And it’s, you know, ‘McCrory supports HB2, which is a discriminating bill, it cost jobs, it insults North Carolina, it embarrasses North Carolina.’ I already know at the debate we’re going to have Tuesday, ‘how embarrassing.’ In fact, he’s running a commercial right now saying, ‘I’m not going to talk about the social issues. I’m going to talk about teacher pay and jobs and so forth.’ But he talks about social issues every night. This social issue. In his speeches he brings up HB 2 five times in thirty minutes and then he’s running commercials saying, ‘I’m not going to talk about social issues.’ So you’re going to have to be direct in informing people about this. Because they’re confusing everybody. Everyone, look how long it’s taken me to explain it."
You can read the partial transcript from the event below, which was provided to us by the North Carolina Democratic Party. (Highlights are theirs.)
McCrory and Cooper face off in a debate tonight hosted by the N.C. Bar Association.