As someone whose state's transphobic bathroom bill has resulted in the loss of jobs, investments, and the NBA championship game, Gov. Pat McCrory might want to think twice before doubling-down (tripling? quadrupling?) on the hateful sentiment behind North Carolina's anti-LGBTQ legislation.
But this is an election year—one in which Donald Trump looms large. Accordingly, "thinking twice" is typically two times more than the amount of thought seemingly put into anything said by the GOP standard-bearer. With that in mind, perhaps its proximity to the nominee which explains why Gov. McCrory made such an astonishingly tone deaf attempt at a transphobic "joke," while speaking at a Trump rally Monday night.
"All right, let's be safe now," McCrory cautioned the attendees gathered in the city of Winston-Salem. “We’ve got a big crowd, so if you need to leave suddenly, we’ve got exits this way, exits this way and exits this way," he said, gesturing to the different corners of the rally space.
"And," McCrory continued. "If any of you need to use the restrooms …"
The crowd—estimated to be several thousand large—slowly began to laugh and applaud, before roaring in approval.
"And if you have any questions, go to the Philadelphia convention where all the Democrats are!" he concluded, to thunderous cheers.
At least one restroom at the Philadelphia's The Wells Fargo Center has been designated as a gender neutral facility for the convention.
Reaction to McCrory's comments was swift, and harsh
Interestingly, while McCrory did share video of his introductory statements on Twitter, the footage begins just after his restroom remarks.
Nevertheless, the "joke," such as it was, seems to have been a rally-pleaser. It was, however, also a somewhat odd decision on McCrory's part, given Trump's previous statements on North Carolina's HB2 legislation. In April, Trump characterized the bill as "something (that) was very strong" for which the state is "paying a big price," and has resulted in "a lot of problems." He also announced that Caitlyn Jenner would be welcome to use whichever restroom in Trump Tower she would prefer—an offer she later accepted.
Since then, however, Trump has backtracked on his criticism, telling Raleigh's News & Observer newspaper, "I’ve spoken with [North Carolina's] governor, I’ve spoken with a lot of people and I’m going with the state."
McCrory is currently in a tough bid for reelection against state attorney general Roy Cooper, a Democrat, who released a new campaign ad coinciding with Trump's Winston-Salem rally. The ad, which highlights a number of state controversies, serves to link McCrory with Trump, calling them both "wrong for North Carolina."
In response to McCrory's bathroom comments, Cooper released a statement deriding the Governor for making light of HB2, proclaiming "our state and our country deserve better."