Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon allegedly swore and physically intimidated Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr with what she called “profane and misogynistic” behavior in a meeting today, according to Reuters. Both Gordon and Orr are Republicans.
Orr said in a statement that in her meeting with Gordon, the governor shouted “Fuck you, mayor,” and slammed his fists on the table. She says Gordon used “his physical presence in an aggressive and threatening manner” during their encounter.
“It’s one thing to have a disagreement on an issue,” Orr said in her statement. “But to lose your temper in front of your own staff, slam your fists on the table, get in someone’s face, and yell ‘f—- you’ because you don’t like the way the discussion is going is abominable.”
“For a split second I thought about walking out, but I felt like this was a very important issue,” Orr continued.
The meeting regarded a possible visit to Cheyenne by a Taiwanese government delegation to discuss beef exports, and the disagreement came about thanks to uncertainty about whether a meeting with officials from Taiwan might anger China, another trading partner.
Gordon has apologized for his language in the meeting, but denies slamming his fists on the table.
“I am deeply offended by the mischaracterization represented in the mayor’s description of our meeting,” Gordon said in a statement. ““At no time during the conversation was I standing up or using intimidating body language. The notion that I have anything but the utmost respect for women is simply not true. I stand by my record on that point.”
Orr supported Gordon in his election campaign last year, but now says she “wouldn’t have endorsed him last fall had I known that he was capable of this.”
“And to be comfortable enough to do this in front of three of your own staff is telling about one’s character,” she added.
“For anyone who believes we’ve reached equality (including in the alleged Equality State), they’re delusional,” Orr’s husband, Jimmy Orr, wrote in a Facebook post Monday morning. “I’m very proud of my wife for standing up and condemning this behavior.”
The issue that spurred Gordon’s outburst involved a conversation about a visiting delegation from Taiwan, and how the state could avoid angering China, where Wyoming is trying to export coal. China still considers Taiwan to be part of the Chinese state, and considers the Taiwanese government illegitimate.
“The Chinese are very good with intimidation and threats and I think that there was some concern about the work we were trying to do regarding coal exports to China and somehow getting into favoritism, or appearing to show favoritism, toward Taiwan,” Orr told Reuters.
Gordon said in the meeting that he didn’t want the state to “be used as a pawn between Taiwan, China and the United States,” according to his statement.
“We’ve got a good relationship with Taiwan right now, which is good for Wyoming’s economy, but we also have a relationship with China that’s good,” Renny Mackay, a senior policy adviser to Gordon, told the Casper Star Tribune. “That’s something past administrations have worked hard on.”
“We are still really hopeful [the visit] can happen,” Mackay told the Star Tribune. “We just need the expertise. There might be strategies at the White House level that we’re just not aware of. We just want to have those conversations before we move this ahead.”