Even in the wake of a tape of Donald Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women being released, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) continues to support his party’s presidential nominee. In fact, McCrory thinks Trump is a role model.
Asked why he thinks that during Monday night’s gubernatorial debate, McCrory cited Trump’s unwavering stance on “certain issues.”
In particular, refugees. Immediately after he made the role model comment, McCrory pivoted to talking about how, in his view, “the Syrian refugee situation is a disaster.” Trump has vowed to stop the flow of Syrian refugees into the country and regularly conflates refugees with terrorists.
“I personally talked to one of the top leaders of the FBI, and they kinda laughed and they said, ‘They’re checking the backgrounds of the Syrian refugees?’ No they aren’t,” McCrory said. “There’s no embassy to check. There’s no qualifications. So when Hillary Clinton says they’re doing a venting [sic] process of these Syrian refugees coming into our state, the FBI is not even being told where they are.”
McCrory’s claim about refugees not being vetted is false. Refugees go through an extremely rigorous vetting process that can take anywhere from 18 to 24 months. It’s also extremely effective. Since the 9/11 attacks, almost 800,000 refugees have entered the country, and none have been arrested for planning terrorist attacks on the United States.
McCrory also made a case that Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women isn’t a big deal because Hillary Clinton says things that are just as bad.
“Sometimes when I see the presidential candidate Mr. Trump, he needs to have his mouth washed out with soap, and so does Mrs. Clinton, because teachers always say ‘don’t tell a lie’ and she lies an awful lot,” he said. “So we’ve got some character issues among the two presidential candidates, but I’m voting for the candidate that best represents my viewpoints… even though I disagree with their character traits.”
The notion that Clinton lies as much as Trump isn’t supported by evidence. During the second presidential debate, for instance, Trump made a total of 33 false claims, while Clinton made five, according to Daniel Dale, Washington correspondent for the Toronto Star.
More broadly, Trump’s fast and loose relationship with truth has been on display throughout his campaign, both with regard to small things like whether Roger Ailes is advising him and with regard to big things like his seeming inability to stop falsely claiming he opposed the Iraq war from the beginning.
North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper — the Democratic candidate running against McCrory — said it’s “hard to believe that Gov. McCrory continues to support a presidential candidate who condones sexual assault, who has admitted that he has done that, who has continued to demean women.”
“Governor McCrory and Donald Trump are a lot alike — they both have trouble with the facts and they both engage in divisive rhetoric,” Cooper added.
Polling indicates McCrory, who earlier during the debate defended his state’s controversial anti-LGBT HB2 law by saying he’d make Caitlyn Jenner use the men’s bathroom, might go down with Trump. The most recent RealClearPolitics average pegs McCrory five points behind Cooper and Clinton three points ahead of Trump in the state.