Con­flict of in­ter­est trou­bles vex Trump

Dis­clo­sure, di­vest­ment ur­gent

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVID SHERFINSKI

Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s team in­sisted Wed­nes­day that his sons aren’t in­volved in an inau­gu­ra­tion-themed event that ap­peared to prom­ise ac­cess in ex­change for char­i­ta­ble do­na­tions — but even his al­lies are say­ing Mr. Trump needs to get a han­dle on po­ten­tial con­flicts of in­ter­est.

Fully di­vorc­ing from his vast real es­tate em­pire will be dif­fi­cult for the bil­lion­aire busi­ness­man, said Newt Gin­grich, for­mer speaker of the U.S. House and a Trump backer. But he said the Trump team must quickly fig­ure out what steps it can take.

“The longer they wait, the greater the ir­ri­ta­tion will be and the more con­cerned peo­ple will be,” he said in an in­ter­view with NPR pub­lished Wed­nes­day. “So

hold up their end of the deal.

“It’s clear to­day that the GOP lead­er­ship’s cru­elty to­wards les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual and par­tic­u­larly trans­gen­der North Carolini­ans knows no bounds,” Chad Grif­fin, pres­i­dent of the Hu­man Rights Cam­paign, said in a state­ment. “For our part, we will con­tinue to fight to de­feat all of HB2 and pro­tect North Carolini­ans no mat­ter what it takes.”

Out­go­ing Repub­li­can Gov. Pat McCrory called for the spe­cial ses­sion Mon­day, the same day that the Char­lotte City Coun­cil voted to re­peal its or­di­nance reg­u­lat­ing in­ti­mate fa­cil­i­ties on the ba­sis of gen­der iden­tity — the mea­sure that prompted HB2 in the first place.

Mr. McCrory and lead­ing Repub­li­can law­mak­ers of­fered months ago to look at re­peal­ing HB2 if Char­lotte got rid of its or­di­nance, a deal the City Coun­cil re­jected at the time. But at the be­hest of At­tor­ney Gen­eral Roy Cooper, who de­feated Mr. McCrory in this year’s gu­ber­na­to­rial race by about 10,000 votes, the City Coun­cil changed its tune.

But dis­trust be­tween the city and the state, the last-minute ad­di­tion of the amend­ment and Repub­li­can in­fight­ing over HB2 ul­ti­mately de­railed the re­peal ef­fort.

Repub­li­cans de­scribed the amend­ment as a “cool­ing-off pe­riod” that would have main­tained the sta­tus quo un­til a com­pro­mise could be reached.

North Carolina Se­nate Leader Phil Berger, a Repub­li­can, said the un­will­ing­ness to ac­cept the amend­ment on the part of Se­nate Democrats is ev­i­dence that Char­lotte would have re­neged on the com­pro­mise and rein­tro­duced its or­di­nance after the re­peal.

“Their ac­tion proves they only wanted a re­peal in or­der to force rad­i­cal so­cial engi­neer­ing and shared bath­rooms across North Carolina, at the ex­pense of our state’s fam­i­lies, our rep­u­ta­tion and our econ­omy,” Mr. Berger said in a state­ment.

The Se­nate voted to ad­journ after the re­peal ef­fort failed, send­ing the pro­posed leg­is­la­tion back to com­mit­tee and keep­ing HB2 in place at least un­til the leg­is­la­ture re­con­venes next year.

Prior to the ad­journ­ment, the Gen­eral As­sem­bly was marked by Repub­li­can in­fight­ing over whether to re­peal HB2 at all.

Lt. Gov. Dan For­est, a Repub­li­can, voiced his op­po­si­tion to the re­peal ef­fort ear­lier in the day. He said Repub­li­cans would be naive to as­sume Char­lotte would not rein­tro­duce its city or­di­nance in the ab­sence of HB2, which took the de­ci­sion out of mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties’ hands.

“I sup­port HB2 and do not fa­vor its re­peal,” Mr. For­est said in a state­ment. “No eco­nomic, po­lit­i­cal or ide­o­log­i­cal pres­sure can con­vince me that what is wrong is right. It will al­ways be wrong for men to have ac­cess to women’s show­ers and bath­rooms.”

“If HB2 is re­pealed, there will be noth­ing on the books to pre­vent an­other city or county to take us down this path again,” he said. “The left has al­ready pub­licly stated the re­moval of HB2 is nec­es­sary for the rest of their agenda to move for­ward. With cer­tainty, if HB2 is re­pealed, we will fight this bat­tle all over again with an­other city or county. The names will change, but the na­tional groups who are push­ing this agenda will not stop un­til their so­cial engi­neer­ing is ac­com­plished. The only thing stop­ping them are those of us who con­tinue to stand strong.”

Skep­ti­cism over Char­lotte’s in­ten­tions reached a fever pitch Tues­day, after state law­mak­ers ac­cused the City Coun­cil of re­peal­ing the or­di­nance only in part. The City Coun­cil took repar­a­tive ac­tion to re­peal the or­di­nance in its en­tirety on Wed­nes­day, but the dam­age had al­ready been done.

“There’s no way this was a tech­ni­cal­ity,” Sen. An­drew Brock, a Repub­li­can, said dur­ing de­lib­er­a­tions over the re­peal. “No way that this was a tech­ni­cal­ity at all. To sit there and try to play games like this for so long, this is the worst po­lit­i­cal stunt that I’ve ever seen.”

“With Char­lotte’s track record, there’s noth­ing that would pre­vent Char­lotte a week from now from go­ing in and propos­ing the ex­act same or­di­nance,” said Sen. Harry Brown, a Repub­li­can.

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