Governor McCrory concedes race to Roy Cooper
Two days after conceding in the North Carolina gubernatorial race, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory plans to meet with President-elect Donald Trump in New York, Trump’s transition team announced Tuesday morning.
Sean Spicer, a Trump spokesman, told reporters McCrory is expected to meet with Trump on Wednesday at Trump Tower but gave no further details.
Neither McCrory’s office nor campaign has confirmed the meeting. Trump planned to be in Fayetteville, N.C., on Tuesday night as part of his “Thank You” tour. He was expected to formally announce his of retired Marine Gen. James Mattis to be secretary of defense.
Asked over the summer whether McCrory could get a job in his administration, Trump told The (Raleigh) News & Observer, “Certainly, it would be something I’d consider.”
McCrory ally John Lassiter spoke with the governor Monday and told the Charlotte Observer Tuesday McCrory is looking forward to the meeting. Lassiter is a former Charlotte City Council member, who led McCrory’s gubernatorial transition team in 2012.
“This is kind of meeting, you go into listening to what the president-elect is interested in,” Lassiter said. “... He’s going, to my knowledge, with an open mind about what opportunities might exist and whether they fit into his future plans.”
Lassiter didn’t have details on job possibilities for the soon-to-be former governor. He said McCrory had previously planned a trip to New York and the timing worked out to meet with Trump.
Some of Trump’s recent meetings have been with allies and potential Cabinet picks to give the president-elect advice or to meet for job interviews. McCrory, who served one term as governor, lost the Nov. 8 election to North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, by about 10,000 votes, with election board certification pending.
In the month since the election, Trump has been meeting with a steady stream of lawmakers, businessmen, military leaders and media figures in his 58th floor triplex in Trump Tower.
Trump’s transition aides have emphasized visitors are all “high quality individuals” and that the president-elect is sitting down with some of them in order to listen to their advice. But, most are there for job interviews as Trump picks his Cabinet and begins assembling his administration.
In the early days of his transition efforts, Trump mainly rewarded loyal backers of his presidential bid. Unlike many officials the president-elect has met with, McCrory was not an early or die-hard supporter of the Republican candidate. McCrory’s lukewarm endorsement came in June, after the GOP presidential primary.
“I’ve stated that I would support the Republican nominee. Anything else?” he told the News & Observer when asked why Trump would be the best candidate for president.
After a tape surfaced in October in which Trump boasted about groping women, McCrory said he condemned his comments “in the strongest possible terms . . . I find them disgusting.”
Trump did not seem to hold a grudge. When McCrory appeared with him at a campaign rally in Wilmington, N.C. a few days before the election, he pulled the governor on stage and said he has been “loyal to Trump from day one,” urging the crowd to vote for the “incredible governor” and “good man.”
McCrory returned the favor.
“We need an outsider to clean up Washington, D.C., just like we had an outsider to clean up Raleigh,” he told the rally.
McCrory has a warmer relationship with vice president-elect, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who he campaigned – and tailgated – with in the state.
McCrory’s background includes a long career in politics and in the private sector with Duke Energy and Charlotte-based Moore & Van Allen Law Firm, as well as his brother’s consulting firm. He served on the Charlotte City Council and was Charlotte mayor for 14 years.
He also served on the federal Homeland Security Advisory Council for four years, appointed by former President George W. Bush in 2002.
McCrory’s tenure as North Carolina governor is well-known nationally for a 2016 law he supported to bar transgender people from using public restrooms according to their gender identity. The so-called “bathroom bill,” passed as House Bill 2 by the N.C. General Assembly, requires people use restrooms in government buildings and schools according to their birth sex. The law drew an immediate lawsuit, as did a similar measure passed by a Virginia school board. The issue is pending in federal courts.
Beyond the bathroom bill controversy, McCrory’s administration has won praise for lowering state income taxes, raising teacher pay and overseeing major infrastructure investments statewide, including a $2 billion long-term plan to improve schools, utilities and public safety.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story gave an incorrect location for Trump’s appearance in North Carolina Tuesday. He was scheduled to be in Fayetteville.
Rick Rothacker of The Charlotte Observer contributed to this article.