RALEIGH, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory and Attorney General Roy Cooper faced off in the second gubernatorial debate on Tuesday night, where McCrory was asked if he still supports Donald Trump despite the recently unearthed tape from 2005 where he can be seen bragging about committing sexual assault.
“Mr. McCrory, on Friday you released a statement condemning Donald Trump’s comments about women on an ‘Access Hollywood’ video in 2005. Many of your fellow Republican governors went further and withdrew their support completely from the Republican nominee. Why didn’t you?” asked moderator Chuck Todd.
After sharing a story about having his mouth washed out with soap as a boy for not saying, “Yes, ma’am” to a teacher, and suggesting that Trump needs to have his mouth washed out with soap as well, as well as calling Hillary Clinton a liar, he explained why he was sticking with the candidate at the top of his party’s ticket.
“We’ve got some character issues among the two presidential candidates, but I’m voting for the candidates that best represent my viewpoints now, even though I disagree with their character traits, on issues like immigration, on issues like Obamacare,” he said, which he called a “disaster.”
“It’s hard to believe that Governor McCrory continues to support a presidential candidate who condones sexual assault, who has admitted that he has done that, who has continued to demean women,” Cooper responded. “Governor McCrory, this is the first time that I’ve heard you even speak up at all about Donald Trump. You’ve gone to his rallies, you’ve made jokes about House Bill 2 on stage, you, when a Gold Star family was demeaned by Donald Trump, you didn’t say anything, when women were demeaned by Donald Trump, you didn’t say anything. Governor McCrory and Donald Trump are a lot alike. They both have trouble with the facts and they both engage in divisive rhetoric. It’s not good for our state, not good for our country.”
“I would call on him today to withdraw his support from Donald Trump,” Cooper added.
Todd then asked McCrory if Donald Trump was a “role model for kids.”
“Not his vulgar verbal outburst,” McCrory said. “I don’t like the personal attacks. I hate it.”
“Any part of him make him a role model?” Todd pressed.
“I think what makes him a role model is where he does stand strong on certain issues that need to be said, especially outside Washington, D.C.,” McCrory answered, highlighting the Syrian refugee crisis as an example, arguing that those wishing to enter the country are not being properly vetted.
Watch the interaction in the video below.
Supporting a candidate who has admitted on tape to committing sexual assault is an awkward and hypocritical position for McCrory to take after months of rhetoric propping up HB2 under the guise of a concern for the safety and privacy of women.
McCrory also said that Caitlyn Jenner should use the men’s facilities if she visits the state and is in a government owned building, such as UNC-Chapel Hill.
McCrory previously faced Todd’s tough questioning when he appeared on “Meet the Press” to answer to the growing backlash the state was facing over HB2. McCrory admitted in that interview that he had not met with any transgender individuals before signing the anti-LGBT bill into law.
While the gubernatorial race has been close throughout, Cooper has begun to open a wider lead over McCrory, who might be wishing he hadn’t hitched his wagon to the falling star of Donald Trump.
Cooper and McCrory will debate again in Raleigh on Oct. 18. This time they will also be joined by Libertarian candidate Lon Cecil.