NBC  INTERVIEW  WITH  GOVERNOR  MCCRORY  OVER  THE  BILL  OF  LGBT


TRANSCRIPT:

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

CHUCK TODD:

Uh, since you signed the executive order, and it was intended to try, I think you were trying to ratchet back some of the controversy here, you still had more companies joining the boycott here, Bloomberg, Capital One, United Airlines, William Sonoma. That’s just on Friday. 160 companies have called for its repeal. You still have an NBA commissioner that is not yet committing to keeping the All-Star game in Charlotte.

Any estimates we have of lost revenue so far, we have come up with calculated, conservative calculations, $39.7 million, $186 million perhaps in revenue, and some have suggested billions in lost revenue. All of this now, do you have regrets signing this law?

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

I’m going to, as governor, as I did with mayor, I will always call out government overreach. And this example, the city of Charlotte, where I was mayor for 14 years, did government overreach. And what your pre-clip didn’t mention was it was the left that brought about the bathroom bill, not the right in the city of Charlotte, like the city of Houston tried to do and was rejected by 61 percent of the vote.

The city of Charlotte passed a bathroom ordinance mandate on every private sector employer in Charlotte, North Carolina, one of the largest, 15th, 16th-largest cities in the United States of America. And I think that’s government overreach. It’s not government’s business to tell the private sector what their bathroom, locker room, or shower — um — practices should be. Not only the private business, but also the Y.M.C.A. and other non-profit organizations. And by the way, this is what 29 other states also do not have, these types of restroom, locker room, and bathroom policies. So–

CHUCK TODD:

But I thought, you know, you talked about overreach. Okay, you say Charlotte overreached.

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

Right.

CHUCK TODD:

How did the state of North Carolina, the state government, not overreach in just the same way. You mentioned Houston. Voters made that decision.

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

Right.

CHUCK TODD:

You can make a case, voters made the decision in Charlotte. Charlotte rejected it, then elected two new members of the city council. This has been a long debate in the city of Charlotte, this is where they came down. You guys debated for, like, ten seconds. I mean, don’t you regret the time of debate?

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

Actually, Charlotte’s vote was a very little debate. They just had a lot of public speakers speaking for and against–

CHUCK TODD:

No, that night. But this has been months — this has been months of a debate.

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

Look, when Charlotte had originally turned it down, just like Houston has. And there hasn’t been outrage, there wasn’t outrage towards Charlotte when they turned it down initially. There was an outrage towards Houston, Texas, when they turned it down recently. But I tell you what I have learned through this, is we’ve got to have more dialogue and not threats.

You know, I was in Hamlet, North Carolina, a small town that can be at any town in the United States of America. I walked into a buffet restaurant, African American buffet restaurant, and the people just welcomed me with open arms and said, “Thanks for protecting us.” I got back in my car, and I got a call from someone in corporate America going, “Man, you’ve got to change this. We’re getting killed.”

And it showed me the disconnect we have between the corporate suites and main street on a very complex subject, and a very personal subject regarding government policy of all things, which didn’t exist before this group brought this up.

CHUCK TODD:

It’s a very thoughtful thing for you to say about dialogue. Where was the dialogue in this? I mean, first of all, you didn’t–

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

Well, let me tell you.

CHUCK TODD:

Your legislature–

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

I didn’t want to–

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

But legislature, to their defense–

CHUCK TODD:

What dialogue?

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

We had an April 1st deadline in which the Charlotte law was coming into effect. And they had to pass the law prior to–

CHUCK TODD:

But you had said you weren’t worried about that deadline.

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

I wasn’t. The legislature, according to their lawyers, were, because they were afraid once it became into effect, it would be harder to overturn. And we can have the debate a longer time. But again, I don’t think government should be telling the private sector what their restroom and shower law should be, to allow a man into a woman’s restroom, or a shower facility at a Y.M.C.A., for example.

However, in government, and I’m not going to tell the private sector any manufacturing plan, any bank can have their own policies. NBC can have their own policy in Charlotte, North Carolina, or anywhere in North Carolina. But I do believe in our high schools, in our middle schools, in our universities, we should continue to have the tradition that we’ve been having in this country for years. And we have a women’s facility and a men’s facility. You know, it’s worked out pretty well. And I don’t think we need any further government interference.

CHUCK TODD:

But this, as we talked about, this law went further than that. It wiped away the city of Charlotte’s ability to govern, to do some things on their own. For instance, they can’t even have their own minimum wage now. Why’d you do that? Why’d you sign that? You’re a former mayor of Charlotte. Could you accept all these limitations that big-state government has put on city and local control?

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

I made a point when I was mayor of Charlotte for 14 years, we dealt with fire and police and airports and roads and light rail lines, we didn’t impose new regulations on businesses. And I don’t think the government ought to be the H.R. director for every business, whether it be in Charlotte or whether it be in Greensboro or whether it be in Boone, North Carolina.

And this is that fine line between how much does government tell the private sector in a regulatory way what to do, and in this case, a city which I still proudly call home, I think overstepped. And, you know, I’ve called out my own Republican legislature in the past, with magistrates and I’ve said no the magistrates need to marry after the Supreme Court case, and what the Supreme Court said.

CHUCK TODD:

I understand that. But you didn’t, you know, in your executive order, you didn’t, and you’re not calling for a passage of protecting gay North Carolinians from discrimination if they’re fired in the private sector. Why?

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

Because I’m not the private sector’s H.R. director. I am the H.R. director and the governor of all state employees. And I signed an executive order which protects all state employees, in the ninth-largest state in United States of America, the same executive order that the Louisiana governor just signed, and got praised for it. I just happen to be a Republican governor, and I got criticized for doing the same thing. I have to say, there are a little bit of politics involved here.

CHUCK TODD:

But with all due respect–

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

Sure.

CHUCK TODD:

Barry Goldwater had said this when they were debating whether to have the Civil Rights act, and debating whether government should be involved in dealing with racial discrimination. And he said, “I am unalterably opposed to discrimination of any sort. But not law that embodies features like these provisions which fly in the face of the constitution, and which require for their effective execution, the creation of a police state.”

The same argument was used to try to defeat laws that would — are now considered untouchable, right? Laws that protect minorities from discrimination in the private sector. Why don’t gays and lesbians qualify?

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

I don’t — first of all, I don’t know of any business right now in North Carolina, and very similar to what Nikki Haley said about South Carolina, that is doing this. But at the same time, what we’ve got to do is deal with this extremely new social norm that has come to our nation at a very quick period of time, and have these discussions about the complexity of equality while also balancing the concept of privacy, including even privacy in the most private of areas of our life, which is a restroom, locker room, or shower facility in our high schools.

CHUCK TODD:

But gender identity is the same privacy. It’s the same issue —

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

Well, now, the folks that are– if that’s the case —

CHUCK TODD:

It’s dealing with that same privacy. I mean, do you want somebody who identifies as a woman, born on their birth certificate as a man, may look like a woman, going into a men’s bathroom?

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

All I’d say is we have 27 states–

CHUCK TODD:

Is that fair to them?

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

We have 27 states, not just — this is not just a North Carolina debate. This is a national debate that’s just come on in literally the last three months. No one had heard of this debate until the Houston ordinance was defeated by the people of Houston. We have 27 to 29 states that also don’t have this type of mandate on private business, including the state of New York.

CHUCK TODD:

I’m curious about due diligence.

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

Sure.

CHUCK TODD:

Did you meet with any transgender people?

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

I have.

CHUCK TODD:

Before you signed that law?

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

Not with — but I’ve met with transgender people in the past, and I’ve met with them since, and have had very positive conversations. Now the conversation with a very powerful group called the Human Relations, uh, Human Rights Council, my gosh, they’re more powerful than the N.R.A., and they have millions of dollars, which makes me want to overturn United, ’cause I don’t know who their donors are either.

But they are putting on a lot of pressure, instead of having good dialogue. And I had wonderful dialogue with a transgender woman who was, and we talked about each other’s issues. There’s passion on each side of this issue.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, but does it bother you at all though, Georgia defeated it, South Carolina–

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

Wait a minute.

CHUCK TODD:

Does it bother you at all that basically North Carolina and Mississippi is the only other state to side with you on this.

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

Well, let me correct you. Georgia and Mississippi was religious freedom bill. This was not a religious freedom bill. In fact, we have not had any religious freedom bill introduced in the state of North Carolina. One reason is because I’m governor. So the confusion by the national media and The New York Times of the Indiana religious freedom bill, Mississippi, and Georgia religious freedom bill, that’s not the case.

This is basically a restroom privacy issue, versus equality. And these things need to be discussed, not threatened by Hollywood or anyone. You know, Hollywood, with all due respects to the Hollywood, the new Batman and Robin movie is playing in China, which has anti-gay, terrible, terrible human rights violations. This is not like an issue of bathroom privacy or restroom privacy in North Carolina. And let’s have this dialogue and I welcome that dialogue.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, Governor McCrory, is there any way this gets repealed?

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

I don’t think the restroom, I do believe that–

CHUCK TODD:

But you’ll repeal other parts of this bill?

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

There is one part of the bill that I do disagree with, where I signed it, and that is you’re not able to sue within state courts. And that needs to be repealed. It was very poorly thought out.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, we’ll be watching for more. Governor McCrory–

GOV. PAT MCCRORY:

Thanks for bringing me here, appreciate it.