At least one North Carolina Republican who attended her party’s national convention in Cleveland this week as a delegate took PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel’s comments about HB 2 in stride while at the same time defending the law.
“When I was a kid the great debate was about how to defeat the Soviet Union,” Thiel told the convention last night before Donald Trump accepted his party’s nomination. “And we won. Now we are told that the great debate is about who gets to use which bathroom. This is a distraction from our real problems. Who cares?”
The remark set up Thiel’s declaration, “I am proud to be gay,” marking the first time an openly gay person has addressed the convention.
And just in case anyone missed the dig at North Carolina’s law requiring that transgender people use the bathroom on their birth certificate, Thiel added for emphasis: “I don’t pretend to agree with every plank in our party’s platform, but fake culture wars only distract us from our economic decline. And nobody in this race is being honest about it except Donald Trump.”
PayPal grabbed national headlines in April when it announced that it would withdraw plans to open a new global operations center in Charlotte that would have employed 400 people.
PayPal President and CEO Dan Schulman said at the time that HB 2 “perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture.”
Angie T. Daoud, a Republican delegate from Pilot Mountain in Surry County, told Triad City Beat that she supports Thiel’s comments, while adding, “No matter what you think, or what the media tells you, HB 2 is not hurting our economy in North Carolina.”
She cited the state’s budgetary surplus as evidence that HB 2 hasn’t adversely affected the state.
Yet the economic consequences of the Republican lawmakers and Gov. Pat McCrory’s enactment of HB 2 revisited Charlotte again on the same day the Republicans were wrapping up their convention when the NBA pulled its 2017 All-Star game from the city.
“We have strong small-town moral values,” Daoud said of Pilot Mountain, adding that local parents support HB 2 “because they would not want to see their 8-year-old daughters being forced to take showers with somebody’s else’s 8-year-old son at school.”
Daoud said that as a Christian, she can “love the person but not love their lifestyle,” adding that she’ll always support HB 2 because “99 percent of the population shouldn’t have to go along with the 1 percent” of transgender people.
Thiel’s speech at the convention — and Trump’s tacit approval of his message by virtue of allowing him to speak — flies in the face of the Republican Party’s 2016 platform, which holds that “the cornerstone of the family is natural marriage, the union of one man and one woman,” while declaring, “We do not accept the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage and we urge its reversal, whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to the states.”
Daoud expressed confidence that the states’ rights plank in the party’s platform would be honored in Trump becomes the president, allowing laws like HB 2 to remain on the books.
She said she agreed with Thiel’s characterization of the culture wars as “fake,” adding that they shouldn’t affect Christians in North Carolina.
“I don’t know this America I live in,” she said.