By: - April 1, 2016 11:56 am

Follies_mc401McCrory backs up and then lashes out as opposition to anti-LGBT law grows

Pressure continues to mount on Governor Pat McCrory and his decision to sign the sweeping anti-LGBT bill passed by the General Assembly in a rushed special session last week.

The number of CEOs opposing the discriminatory law is now well over 100 with the leaders of Starbucks, Barnes and Noble and Citibank among those weighing against the law late in the week.

Many corporations, including Wells Fargo and Bank of America, are specifically calling for repeal of the law and one pharmaceutical company announced it is reconsidering a planned $20 million expansion in the state.

McCrory continues to flail in public in response to the pressure, frequently referring to mounting opposition to the law as a “politically correct smear” campaign which is an odd way to describe principled opposition to the law from well-respected corporate leaders like former Bank of American CEO Hugh McColl who worked closely with McCrory when he was mayor of Charlotte.

McCrory did meet with representatives of equality groups and a transgender woman Thursday and then his office issued a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde statement, saying he appreciated the opportunity to sit down and talk about complex issues but also repeating his claims about a national and well-coordinated smear campaign.

McCrory also said in a video release this week that he is willing to consider ways to make the bill better, though he wasn’t specific. That message came in between rants about a national conspiracy to demean North Carolina.

It’s too bad McCrory didn’t have a real press conference to announce that he was willing to consider changes to the new law. Of course that would have allowed reporters to ask him why he signed it in the first place, just hours after it passed the General Assembly, instead of waiting and meeting with groups on both sides of the issue like governors in Georgia and South Dakota did.

The law needs to be repealed not changed but any possible changes to the law would have to be made by the same House and Senate that overwhelmingly approved it last week. And that seems very unlikely.

A spokesperson for Senate President Pro Tem Berger said there is no interest it changing the law and then Berger’s office restated the absurd claims about keeping bathrooms safe, which is all McCrory can talk about too.

They still have no actual evidence that allowing transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to their sexual identity has caused problems in the hundreds of cities and thousands of businesses that have a similar policy.

And neither Berger nor McCrory ever seems to mention that the law also bans Charlotte and other cities from protecting LGBT people from discrimination in employment and public accommodations.

Or that it prohibits workers illegally fired because of their race or religion from suing in state court.

Their misleading and offensive rhetoric is all about bathrooms but their law is about much more than that.

And neither Berger nor McCrory nor any other prominent supporter of the draconian law has yet to answer a simple question.

Do you believe it should be legal to fire people or refuse them services because they are gay?

It is a very simple straightforward question that deserves an answer.

McCrory’s bizarre comments on Medicaid

McCrory troubling comments about the anti-LGBT law weren’t the only unusual ones he made this week. All but lost in all the controversy was McCrory’s bizarre take on the possibility of expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and providing health care to more than 400,000 people who are currently uninsured.

Many people are calling for expansion at public hearings being held across the state about Medicaid reform.

McCrory first blamed the Obama Administration for not agreeing to work requirements for Medicaid expansion, though McCrory has yet to submit an expansion plan that includes them, or any expansion plan for that matter.

Then he added this: “I’m most interested in Medicaid expansion for a more targeted audience, especially those with Alzheimer’s and also those with other diseases where they cannot help themselves. Those are the people I’m most interested in helping at this point in time.”

McCrory did not list the other diseases where people cannot help themselves but maybe he is working on a list of good deserving diseases and bad undeserving diseases. It’s not clear where preventative health care would fit in or if he is just willing to let people get sick and then only provide coverage for the ones he decides deserve it. Very odd.

Senator Tillis finally schedules a meeting—but not the right one

And finally, North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis had an important meeting this week. No, not with President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court Merrick Garland whose nomination Senate leaders refuse to consider.

Tillis can’t seem to the find the time to meet with Garland, a nominee who was widely praised by Republicans in the past.

But Tillis and a few other members of Congress did manage to squeeze in a meeting this week with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman—in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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Chris Fitzsimon

Chris Fitzsimon, Founder and Executive Director of N.C. Policy Watch, writes the Fitzsimon File, delivers a radio commentary broadcast on WRAL-FM and hosts "News and Views," a weekly radio news magazine that airs on multiple stations across North Carolina. [email protected] 919-861-2066