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Political notebook: McCrory draws criticism for bathroom joke during Trump rally

By Josh Bergeron

josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

Gov. Pat McCrory drew the ire of his Democratic opponent for governor last week when he joked about the state rules on bathroom usage during a rally for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

During a speech on July 25, McCrory joked about House Bill 2 before Trump took the stage at a rally in Winston-Salem. McCrory’s bathroom remarks came at the start of his speech.

“All right, let’s be safe now,” McCrory said. “We’ve got a big crowd. So, if you need to leave suddenly, we’ve got exits this way and exits this way. And, if any of you need to use the restrooms.”

The crowd cheered briefly before McCrory continued.

“And, if you have any questions, go to the Philadelphia convention where all the Democrats are,” he said.

The joke came at the start of his speech, and drew swift criticism from the campaign of his Democratic opponent Roy Cooper.

“Governor McCrory may be making jokes, but his discriminatory law is no laughing matter — it has already cost us jobs, hurt our economy and damaged our reputation,” said Cooper campaign spokesman Jamal Little in a news release. “Tonight, Donald Trump and Governor McCrory doubled down on their dangerous and discriminatory agenda. Our state and our country deserve better.”

Not content to let the Cooper campaign have the last word, McCrory campaign spokesman Ricky Diaz noted that in emails leaked by the website Wikileaks North Carolina’s North Carolina Democrats celebrated cancellations by bands.

“Roy Cooper and the Democrats want North Carolina to fail just to further their own political agenda,” Diaz said.

HB 2 lawsuit starts today

In other House Bill 2 news, a U.S. District Court will hold a hearing today on a motion asking the court to stop enforcement of bathroom-related provisions of the measure.

A full trial on House bill 2 is scheduled for November 14, when other parts of House Bill 2 will be discussed. Today’s hearing is to consider a preliminary injection only on the law that prevents transgender people from using public bathrooms of the gender they identify with.

Parties challenging the lawsuit in court include the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of North Carolina, Lambda Legal and the law firm of Jenner and Block.

VP candidates stopping in NC

Last week, Trump and Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton visited North Carolina. This week the VP picks of the Republican and Democratic Party will visit the state.

Sen. Tim Kaine, Clinton’s running mate, is scheduled to appear in Greensboro on Wednesday to talk about Clinton’s economic plans. No time or location has been announced.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate,  is scheduled to be in Raleigh for a 10 a.m. town hall event on Thursday. Trump’s campaign hasn’t announced a location for Trump’s event.

Both events will be the first solo visits by the vice presidential nominees.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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