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The Advocate Interviewed Pat McCrory Before Protesters Yelled 'Shame'

The Advocate Interviewed Pat McCrory Before Protesters Yelled 'Shame'

pat mccrory

Before being chased down by demonstrators, the anti-LGBT former governor of North Carolina addressed HB 2, protests against his "good friend" Mike Pence, and the possibility of working for Donald Trump.


Pat McCrory is not the governor of North Carolina anymore, but he told The Advocate that he may not be done with politics.

McCrory, who signed the anti-LGBT House Bill 2 into law, was in Washington, D.C., last weekend attending President Donald Trump's inauguration activities. On Friday, he ran into a reporter for The Advocate, who caught up with the embattled politician on the street as he made his way to the parade.

When asked if the rumors that he may be joining the Trump administration are true, McCrory would neither confirm nor deny them. "I do not know yet. I don't have any plans in place at this time," he said.

McCrory, who fought for two months before conceding the gubernatorial election to his Democratic pro-LGBT successor Roy Cooper, expressed excitement about attending the inauguration -- not only because of Trump, but because he considers Vice President Mike Pence "a very good friend."

"I've worked with Donald Trump on the campaign trail. Met with him many times, so I'm proud of the smooth transition. I'm proud of President Obama too," McCrory told The Advocate.

Prior to the inauguration, there was a large queer dance party and protest staged Wednesday outside of Pence's house in Washington. Protesters were there to raise awareness about the former governor of Indiana's anti-LGBT record.

Protest is not something that McCrory is a stranger to -- as governor of North Carolina, he faced a wave of backlash and business boycotts for signing HB 2, which among other things bars transgender people from using restrooms, locker rooms, and other sex-segregated facilities that correspond with their gender identity, when these are located in government buildings. It also prevented cities and counties from enacting or enforcing LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances.

When asked about the Pence protest, McCrory told TheAdvocate he is not opposed to people expressing their political opinions, but that demonstrators should find a more polite way to do it.

"I love freedom of speech, although I prefer it not be in front of someone's personal residence," he said. "I don't think that's right, but I believe in the right to protest although I prefer they stay away from people's home. That's kinda rude."

McCrory fled from his own protesters during his time in D.C. As McCrory's hometown newspaper, The Charlotte Observer, reported, protesters shouted "Shame on you, you antigay bigot!" at the former governor Saturday for at least three minutes, after activists on the street recognized him and followed him through the streets of the nation's capital. None other than Lou Dobbs, the conservative television host, was next to McCrory at the time.

McCrory, waiting to enter a building, was cornered by protesters who pointed fingers and shouted "Shame!" at him. Eventually, a member of the Secret Service intervented and asked the protesters to leave, as is shown in the video below.

Ricky Diaz, a spokesman for McCrory during his campaign for reelection, provided a statement to the Observer about the incident. He called the actions of the protesters "regrettable."

"It's regrettable that up to a few dozen protesters decided to stalk and shout insults at the governor and police when we should all be listening to each other and coming together as a country in a respectful manner," Diaz said. "Governor McCrory is thankful to Lou Dobbs for helping during this incident, and very thankful to the D.C. police for keeping everyone safe during a very successful inaugural weekend."

In December, the Republican majority in North Carolina's state legislature had come to an agreement with the City Council of Charlotte to make an effort to repeal HB 2 in a special session, if the city first repealed the civil rights ordinance that preceded HB 2. After the City Council repealed the ordinance, the GOP-led legislature still refused to repeal the anti-LGBT legislation. The legislation that Republican leaders introduced, which did not pass, would have placed a moratorium on cities' enactment of LGBT-inclusive antidiscrimination ordinances.

When asked whether McCrory believed North Carolina would repeal HB 2, he said that he believes the debate over transgender rights is a federal issue.

"I think it's a federal issue. I think it's a false premise that this is a North Carolina issue," McCrory told The Advocate. "It's gonna be a federal issue on how we define gender in the future. I don't think this is a state issue. I think it's an issue related to the 1964 Civil Rights Act on how we define gender in the future and I think the courts will end up deciding this. Most people don't understand what HB 2 is."

"It will be a court issue," he continued. "There are several court cases, and now with the Justice Department will have to determine whether or not they are going to overturn the Obama Justice Department's definition of gender as it relates to Title VII and Title IX so they need to make a decision in the Justice Department and then the Supreme Court decision probably on the Richmond case and a few other cases will be decided in the next six months and then its a national issue; it's not a North Carolina issue."

McCrory did say that he will respect whatever the courts decide, though he has a record of not always abiding by such actions. "I have expressed my opinion on defining gender, but I will respect whatever the courts decide," he said.

Before conceding his position, McCrory signed a bill limiting the powers of his successor. He claimed to be a victim of voter fraud, much like President Trump continues to do. Trump continued to spread this mistruth on Monday, telling congressional leaders that he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by 3 million votes due to voter fraud.

Watch the clip of protesters shouting at McCrory below.

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Yezmin Villarreal

Yezmin Villarreal is the former news editor for The Advocate. Her work has also appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Mic, LA Weekly, Out Magazine and The Fader.
Yezmin Villarreal is the former news editor for The Advocate. Her work has also appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Mic, LA Weekly, Out Magazine and The Fader.