The stories from Gov. Pat McCrory about HB2 just keep getting more bizarre. McCrory claimed in an interview with the Charlotte Observer this week that at one point this summer he had a verbal agreement with the NBA and legislative leaders to make changes to the anti-LGBT law to keep the league’s all-star game in Charlotte next year.
The league recently announced it was pulling the game because the General Assembly adjourned this summer’s session without making significant changes to the discrimination provisions in the law.
McCrory said the alleged compromise would have restored the right for workers illegally fired to sue in state court, set up a commission to study discrimination protections in the state, and changed the state nondiscrimination standard to track federal law—which still wouldn’t explicitly protect LGBT people from discrimination as many states currently do and as the Charlotte ordinance did for residents of the city.
The Observer reports that McCrory claims the compromise was sabotaged by Republican legislators opposed to the plan who leaked the details to reporters.
Last week, McCrory blamed the sports and entertainment elite, Attorney General Roy Cooper, and the liberal media for the NBA keeping its word and moving the game from Charlotte because of HB2.
He also blasted left-wing special interest groups and selective corporate elite for the loss of the game and the $100 million it would have meant to Charlotte’s economy. McCrory’s campaign even blamed Hillary Clinton because a former advisor for President Bill Clinton now works for the NBA.
Now McCrory is saying it was the fault of a few Republican legislators, or at least adding them to the list of people responsible for the economic damage to the state for the legislation that he signed into law.
He did tell the Observer that Attorney General Roy Cooper the Human Rights Campaign were also at fault for urging Democratic legislators to only support a full repeal of HB2, not a watered down compromise.
The Observer also reports that inside sources say there never was an actual agreement and that the NBA wanted additional changes to the law.
McCrory’s latest machinations make a few things clear.
He’s increasingly desperate to avoid any blame for a law that he signed and still supports that has cost North Carolina thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of private investment and dealt a severe blow to the state’s reputation around the world.
And his latest tortured explanation falls as flat as his flailing last week. Why does the fact that a GOP lawmaker leaked details of a compromise take McCrory off the hook?
He could have spoken out publicly for the proposed changes and used the power of his office privately to convince his fellow Republicans to support the plan if he was determined to get it passed.
And blaming Roy Cooper and the Human Rights Campaign for urging a full repeal of the law makes even less sense. Full repeal is still far and away the best solution to this whole mess, but the Republicans have supermajorities in the House and Senate.
They don’t need Democratic votes to pass anything and on most controversial issues they don’t care whether Democrats support their legislation or not.
HB2 is a Republican law passed by a Republican General Assembly and signed by a Republican governor and left largely intact this summer by a Republican House and a Republican Senate. The Democrats had little to do with it and neither did the Human Rights Campaign or some imagined conspiracy of the media and corporate elites.
The bottom line is that HB2 is a disgrace. And it is Gov. Pat McCrory’s law. He and the legislative leaders who passed it are responsible for the economic damage it is doing to North Carolina. Period.