Gov. Pat McCrory's claim to be a regular attendee at Moral Monday protests raised a lot of eyebrows.
"I go out in the crowd all of the time," he told a reporter from the Wilson Times who asked if he ever mingled with the protesters. "Frankly, yesterday I went out and talked to several of them and they were not very respectful. They did not represent the majority of those who call themselves 'moral' by cussing me out but that's the way things go sometimes."
Last week, I traveled to Raleigh to attend the protests for the first time. I saw what looked like thousands people of all ages, colors and backgrounds. But one person I did not see was Pat McCrory. I'm not alone. Apparently, no one in the media-heavy crowd had ever seen McCrory and his entourage mingling with the protestors that day, let alone "all the time."
After his claim was openly questioned and widely mocked on the Internet, McCrory's spokeswoman, Kim Genardo, backpedaled for the governor. "Every day he walks to and from work, to meetings in government buildings, and throughout the city of Raleigh. When possible, the governor will stop and chat with the people of North Carolina."
The interview was taped. The reporter clearly specified "Moral Monday." If he wasn't lying, why would he refer to the "people of North Carolina" as disrespectful? And how likely is it that people uninvolved with Moral Monday approach the sitting governor - undoubtedly always accompanied by a large entourage - and cuss him out? He lied, and he got caught.
What's particularly rich about his statement is that the governor holds himself as the arbiter of morality. This, the man who blocked hundreds of thousands of poor people from free medical care, cut unemployment benefits for 70,000 North Carolinians, salivated to restart executions, wants to cut teacher pay and raise taxes on 80 percent of residents to give a tax cut to the rich.
This isn't the first misstep he's had with the media and Moral Monday. A few weeks ago, he labeled the protesters "mostly white, angry, aged former hippies," as if there's something wrong with that. He also called them "outsiders." Given his rush to return the to the "halcyon" days of the Jim Crow era, I'm surprised the governor didn't add the word "agitators."