UPDATED: WRAL’s Laura Leslie worked late last night and finally caught up with Reverend William Barber of the NAACP. She posted this story at 10:27 pm (updated at 1:40 am) in which Barber disputes information released by House Speaker Tillis’ office that’s discussed in the post below.
WRAL.com reported this afternoon that NC House Speaker Thom Tillis’ office is claiming that “the Speaker had a meeting with the NAACP scheduled for 1:45 this afternoon, but the NAACP canceled the meeting.”
As usual, Tillis’ people were/are misleading the news media.
I spoke with Rev. William Barber, President of the North Carolina NAACP late this afternoon. Barber told me he’s been trying to get in touch with reporter Laura Leslie to correct the story she was fed by Tillis’ spokesperson, but that they had failed to connect. (UPDATED: It should be noted that Leslie tried to get hold of Barber first, but he was originally unavailable).
Barber told me that the truth of the matter is that he and several allies in the NAACP/HK on J coalition have been trying to get a joint meeting with both Tillis and his Senate counterpart, President Pro Tem Phil Berger for weeks. The advocates formally requested such a meeting with both men (as well as Democratic legislative leaders) weeks in advance of the group’s lobby day on May 23 — a request that the Democrats in both houses easily accommodated on that day.
Tillis and Berger however turned down the meeting and commenced an email back and forth with the coalition that included ever-shifting conditions from the two legislators. For instance, Tillis and Berger refused to meet with the coalition partners with the news media present.
The “meeting” that was supposedly “scheduled” for today merely appears to have been the latest unacceptable offer of a meeting from Tillis alone. No such meeting was ever agreed to by the NAACP/HK on J partners.
As a practical matter, the latest misleading statement from Tillis’ office appears to be an effort at track-covering by the Speaker in light of his decision to meet with some far right activists this afternoon regarding plans to advance mandatory photo ID/voter suppression legislation. Look for more information on that meeting and the people involved in the days ahead here and at ncpolicywatch.com