Politics & Government

McCrory distances himself from sexual predator claims backing House Bill 2

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory speaks to the media about House Bill 2 following a Novo Nordisk groundbreaking ceremony Monday, March 28, 2016 in Clayton, N.C.
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory speaks to the media about House Bill 2 following a Novo Nordisk groundbreaking ceremony Monday, March 28, 2016 in Clayton, N.C. jhknight@newsobserver.com

Gov. Pat McCrory defended House Bill 2 on Megyn Kelly’s Fox News Channel show Thursday night, and he argued that the law is more about bathroom privacy than about fears of sexual predators in bathrooms.

Kelly pressed McCrory about claims that a Charlotte nondiscrimination ordinance – which House Bill 2 overturned March 23 – would have made it easier for “molesters” to commit crimes in bathrooms.

“I don’t use that term,” the governor said. “Mine is not a fear. I’m not doing it, and I don’t like the rhetoric that’s used on the right saying what the fear is.

“It’s the basic expectation of privacy that I hear from moms and dads and families, that when their daughter or son goes into a facility, a restroom, they expect people of that gender, of that biological sex or gender, to be the only other ones in that. That’s the expectation that we’ve had for many, many years.”

That comment appears to put McCrory’s latest views on House Bill 2 at odds with other supporters of the law. In a campaign ad this week, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest makes the predator claim that McCrory said he’s “not doing.”

“If keeping men out of women’s showers and bathrooms protects just one child or one woman from being molested or assaulted, then it was worth it,” Forest says in the ad.

McCrory’s comment on Fox News is also at odds with earlier statements he made about the Charlotte ordinance. When the governor suggested in February that the legislature probably would take action on the bathroom provision, he raised the safety issue in an email to Charlotte City Council members.

“This shift in policy could also create major public safety issues by putting citizens in possible danger from deviant actions by individuals taking improper advantage of a bad policy,” he wrote on Feb. 21.

McCrory spokesman Josh Ellis sent an email Friday explaining the conflicting statements.

“Megyn was basically asking if transgender people were molesters,” Ellis said. “That’s what the governor was responding to. The governor was making it clear that he doesn’t use those terms to describe transgender people.”

PolitiFact North Carolina recently reviewed the claims made about safety and found no instances where criminals used transgender-friendly ordinances and laws as legal cover for sex crimes.

Watch the full interview below:

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