North Carolina governor embraces anti-transgender discrimination in heated debate

His remark about Caitlyn Jenner was one of many bigoted things he said in Tuesday night’s gubernatorial debate.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Gerry Broome
CREDIT: AP Photo/Gerry Broome

In a heated gubernatorial debate Tuesday night, Gov. Pat McCrory (R) and Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) squared off over the future of North Carolina. At the forefront of the discussion, unsurprisingly, was HB2, the anti-LGBT law that has prompted a nationwide economic backlash.

McCrory did nothing to back away from the law he has championed. When asked a direct question about where Caitlyn Jenner would go to the bathroom were she to visit the state, he had no problem sending her directly to the men’s shower:

Incidentally, sending Jenner to the men’s shower would be a violation of HB2. The law requires individuals to use facilities that match the gender on their birth certificate, and Jenner has had hers adjusted to recognize her as female.


As he has repeatedly, McCrory blamed the “liberals in Charlotte” who “started this whole bathroom mess” by passing an LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance identical to laws in dozens of other cities and states. At least twice, McCrory and Republicans in the state legislature have pressured Charlotte to repeal its ordinance as part of a “compromise” that would lead to the repeal of HB2. The Charlotte City Council rightfully hasn’t trusted that deal, as McCrory was one of many leaders who admitted after the fact that lawmakers never planned to repeal the law’s bathroom restriction, the very thing that has motivated massive boycotts of the state.

McCrory’s defense of HB2 was only the beginning of a debate full of bigotry:

  • He defended Donald Trump, saying he “needs to have his mouth washed out with soap,” but his actions are no worse than Hillary Clinton’s lying.
  • He also called Trump a “role model” because of the strong positions he takes on issues, like the supposed “threat” of Syrian refugees entering the country.
  • When asked about the Black Lives Matter movement, he responded that “all lives should matter” and defended the “pressure” that police officers are under every day when they “leave their families not knowing if they’re coming back.”
  • When asked about Clinton’s comments that police have to overcome implicit bias, McCrory said that biases are “tools that police use to determine what action to take,” endorsing racial profiling.
  • He also defended North Carolina’s discriminatory voter ID law, claiming, “If ID is good enough for Sudafed, I think it’s good enough for the people of North Carolina to vote” — a comparison between access to a controlled substance and access to a constitutional right.