The toll of the damage to North Carolina from Gov. Pat McCrory’s sweeping anti-LGBT legislation continues to mount.
N.C. State Chancellor Randy Woodson was the latest public figure to weigh in with bad news, telling WRAL-TV that a number of companies that were considering coming to the university’s Centennial Campus were no longer interested because of HB2.
Woodson also said the law is making it more difficult to recruit new faculty members. UNC President Margaret Spelling says she’s worried about the “chill” the new discriminatory law could have on the university system. Woodson’s comments confirm the chill is already underway.
McCrory the video governor
Meanwhile Gov. Pat McCrory continues to refuse to answer questions in public about the law that has prompted widespread opposition inside the state and across the country, with corporations cancelling job expansions in the state, performers cancelling concerts, and trade groups cancelling conventions and meetings.
The North Carolina brand is being badly damaged and McCrory is a governor under siege, constantly complaining that the law is being misinterpreted and mischaracterized by the media while at the same refusing to talk to reporters about it.
McCrory appeared at an open house at a youth development center in Rocky Mount Thursday to talk about mental health issues and refused to respond to questions about HB2 even though he has yet to hold a news conference about it.
McCrory released a video earlier this week discussing the executive order he issued to try to stem the growing tide of opposition to the law. That didn’t work and his refusal to answer questions about HB2 led Greensboro News & Record Columnist Allen Johnson to call McCrory “the video governor,” which seems appropriate.
Governor under siege seems to fit too.
Hypocrisy on anonymous donors
McCrory’s staff is also getting testy. Communications Director Josh Ellis responded to a public records request about HB2 from the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBT advocacy group, by saying “the Human Rights Campaign is a shadowy, left-wing group funded by anonymous donors that is recklessly leading the charge to mislead the public and smear North Carolina.”
Two things about that overly defensive response are worth noting. McCrory and his staff keep talking about the “smear” campaign against North Carolina led by far-left politically correct mobs, but people like former Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl have openly criticized the law, saying it was inappropriate and would hurt Charlotte.
Surely Ellis and McCrory don’t think McColl and other business leaders have become left wing activists overnight.
Then there’s the “shadowy, left-wing group funded by anonymous donors” attack. Apparently Ellis believes that all political and advocacy groups should disclose their donors.
He could back up his call for integrity in the process by releasing the names of the anonymous donors to the Renew North Carolina Foundation, a “shadowy” group with close ties to McCrory that recently reserved time for television ads praising the governor.
Or does Ellis believe anonymity is only bad when the other side is doing it?
Jobless rate stalls
Meanwhile, North Carolina’s unemployment rate remained at 5.5 percent in March, higher than the national average and 14th highest in the country. It’s also higher than the rate in Virginia, Tennessee, and Arkansas.
It is not exactly the “Carolina Comeback” McCrory promised and then consider that at least 1,250 jobs that McCrory announced were coming have been cancelled thanks to his decision to sign HB2.
And that doesn’t include the job losses that will never be made public, the companies that are crossing North Carolina of their lists of places to relocate or expand thanks to the law.
Burr channels inner McCrory on HB2
And finally, McCrory’s not the only prominent elected official who doesn’t want to talk about the damage HB2 is doing to the state.
North Carolina Senator Richard Burr was asked by a reporter what he thought of a bipartisan group of senators trying to convince the NBA to take the 2017 all-star game away from Charlotte because of the anti-LGBT law.
Burr said “Oh, I’m not getting into that crap.”
Good plan. Just let the damage continue to mount.