Gov. McCrory speaks out on comedy radio show about the backlash against HB2

John Boy & Billy Big Show promotional photo. Gov. Pat McCrory inset.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Gov. Pat McCrory had a lot to say on the popular John Boy and Billy radio program about what’s transpired since House Bill 2 was passed. Joking around with the comedy hosts that he’s known for 30 years, he opened up more than he has to other outlets.

Among other things, McCrory said that businesses have told him they support him and HB2 but they are afraid to say anything publicly about it.

Below is a partial transcript of the program, which aired live Tuesday morning.

JOHN BOY/BILLY: The mayor of Charlotte decided she was going to throw something into a Charlotte city ordinance?

GOV. MCCRORY: A Charlotte city ordinance which would mandate to all private businesses and nonprofits that have interactions with the public would have to have an ordinance for their bathrooms, locker rooms and showers which would allow people to determine their own gender identity.

(Back and forth conversation and joking)

GOV. MCCRORY: There’s also gender expression. I don’t know what that means but apparently if you have gender expression, where you may be a male but you act like a female, you can also choose the bathroom, locker room or shower of your choice. I’m not interested in government being the bathroom police for the private sector. It’s not my business. The national media kinda thinks that North Carolina did this. No, Charlotte wanted to be the bathroom police with their own standards for private business. …

JOHN BOY/BILLY: So, it’s like a solution looking for a problem?

GOV. MCCRORY: Right before they voted, I told them, “Don’t do this. Please, if there’s no problem. No one’s ever talked about it.” But there was pressure from a group called the Human Rights Commission, which makes the NRA look weak. They’re powerful. About $32 million per year budget. They’re national. I met with them. They’re Machiavellian, man.

JOHN BOY/BILLY: Did they tell you what they were going to do?

GOV. MCCRORY: Yeah, after the Charlotte vote. I warned them. The state legislature overturned the city’s ability to put a mandate on private businesses to do that. At the same time, the state legislature also said, ‘governor, you’re responsible for government buildings so we’re going to have a rule for government buildings.’ That is, a man with an anatomy of a man will go to a man’s restroom in our schools, highway rest stops or government buildings. That’s exactly what happened. The minute we did that all of a sudden it was national news and North Carolina and the governor are anti-gay and lesbian. This had nothing to do with gay and lesbian. It had to do with privacy. When someone goes to the restroom, there’s an expectation of privacy. By the way, also in a shower or a locker room. There’s an expectation we all have in the most private of places that the only other people in that room are going to be people of our own gender. And if it isn’t, it kinda makes you a little nervous.

JOHN BOY/BILLY: And then all these businesses…

GOV. MCCRORY: A  company Paypal was going to open up a call center here in Charlotte – 300 or 400 employees – and all of a sudden they say we’re not coming anymore because you passed this anti-equal rights bill. I said, no we didn’t. We passed a privacy bill. By the way, in our government buildings we still encourage other restrooms to make exceptions to look for alternative ways to deal with this new thing. But Pay Pal, whose headquarters are in Singapore…

JOHN BOY/BILLY: (laughing) And how do they treat these people?

GOV. MCCRORY: Not too good. And who do business in China.

JOHN BOY/BILLY: And how’s that?

GOV. MCCRORY: Not too good. They do business in Sudan. They cut your head off for being gay or lesbian and yet they can’t do business in North Carolina.

(Back and forth conversation)

GOV. MCCRORY: I mean the hypocrisy. The selective outrage I call it. Listen, companies can express their viewpoint but if you’re going to express your viewpoint, go all in or all out. Don’t do this partial stuff. I think they’re making a mistake by getting involved in politics.

(Back and forth conversation)

JOHN BOY/BILLY: It wasn’t like they were looking to solve some huge problem, was it?

GOV. MCCRORY: Nikki Haley from South Carolina is getting praised for saying, why are we doing this if there is no problem. Yet Charlotte passes it and the Charlotte Observer crucifies me, comparing me to George Wallace. That’s an insult. It said I’m a bigot and that’s the farthest thing I am.

(The hosts joke about the George Orwell book 1984 and thought police.)

GOV. MCCRORY: Now sadly in our nation, if there’s a disagreement and you’re on the wrong side of that disagreement, according to the thought police, you’re dispensed of, you’re exiled. I’ve even had some people call me, as governor, and say ‘please don’t show up to this event because I have people who disagree with you and we don’t want.’ … And you know what, that’s not the best of America.

(During back and forth conversation, McCrory says that maybe he’s old-fashioned.)

JOHN BOY/BILLY: Pat, the thing about it is, most commonsense people agree with you but they don’t get the press. The press gets all these people grandstanding and piling on you.

GOV. MCCRORY: My opponent, Roy Cooper, with all due respect, he’s going, ‘you’ve embarrassed North Carolina and this doesn’t represent North Carolina.’ Yeah, it does.

JOHN BOY/BILLY: Yeah, it does.

GOV. MCCRORY: We haven’t embarrassed North Carolina by talking about something logically. It’s logic but it’s not politically correct, apparently. Did you ever hear me talk about this in 30 years?

JOHN BOY/BILLY: No, No.

GOV. MCCRORY: The politics of our nation have changed where the political correctness doesn’t even allow you to have this conversation. I know business people who agree with me 100 percent but they’re afraid.

JOHN BOY/BILLY: Afraid to say it.

GOV. MCCRORY: Oh, they’re afraid. They go (whispering) ‘Pat, Pat, we agree with you. That’s a great thing you did. (stops whispering) Well, how about call the media? Oh no, no, we can’t do that.

JOHN BOY/BILLY: They can’t say it out loud.

GOV. MCCRORY: They can’t say it out loud ’cause they’re afraid of their business, afraid of their business being attacked. That’s not America. But society is changing quickly and anyone who gets in the way is in trouble. I might be in trouble.

JOHN BOY/BILLY: I just hope the commonsense side will show up and say it with our vote. You’re not going to get the media on your side.

GOV. MCCRORY: No, no. Every day there’s an editorial cartoon about me. By the way, the Obama Administration, now in grants that we get from federal money, they’ve all of a sudden slid this as part of the contract. This is just amazing. It’s a subject that nobody had talked about.

(McCrory and John Boy/Billy talk about Virginia court case where a federal Circuit Court ruled that a Virginia school’s policy barring a transgender student from using the bathroom of the gender he identified with was discriminatory.)

RELATED: Transgender Durham student thrilled by federal court ruling

GOV. MCCRORY: Maybe this is going to change with or without us but it’s changing dramatically. According to George Orwell, you don’t get in the way of the thought police. But the sad thing is we aren’t even talking about it.

JOHN BOY/BILLY: The whole thing has blown up and it’s not even what it was.

GOV. MCCRORY: I just read the Wall Street Journal today where they said Gov. McCrory and North Carolina passed an anti-whatever bill. No, we didn’t. We passed a commonsense bathroom bill which didn’t mandate to the private sector. I don’t want to be the bathroom police. If a bank or your studio wanted to do your bathroom policy any way you want, that’s your business.

JOHN BOY/BILLY: That’s the whole point. The mayor of Charlotte got in and made it a government mandate which bathrooms you could use and all that and opened the whole deal up.

GOV. MCCRORY: That’s exactly what they tried to do in the city of Houston and then the city of Houston defeated it by 61 percent of the vote. And weeks later the NCAA was played there. Did you hear any corporate outrage or NCAA outrage? All of a sudden, there’s outrage toward us. There’s a little bit of hypocrisy and there might be a little bit of politics involved. Just because there’s a governor’s race in the ninth largest state, they’re making it an issue. The sad news is that people are losing jobs because of it.

You know, Bruce Springsteen, who I love, Bruce Springsteen. I love his music. But he canceled a concert in Greensboro. By the way, they only had 8,000 tickets sold with all due respect. (laughter) Bruce doesn’t mention that. They didn’t quite get the ticket sales they wanted. It might have had something to do with it. I love Bruce Springsteen but for him to cancel a concert – two days before the concert where people traveled down, all 8,000 – over a bathroom policy and I doubt he read it or understands it.

(Back and forth joking)

GOV. MCCRORY: By the way, North Carolina, as of yesterday, was the fastest growing economy in the United States of America over the last three years. You missed that on the front of the Charlotte Observer. The Charlotte Observer recommended a boycott, like games boycotting Charlotte. You know what? Why doesn’t McClatchy newspapers boycott North Carolina? That would be the best thing. Shut down McClatchy newspapers and quit printing it if you feel so strong about it, quit printing the newspaper here and accepting our advertising dollars… They recommended in an editorial to boycott North Carolina. Their own newspaper says to boycott but they’re still printing here and accepting advertising. A little bit of hypocrisy.

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