Mayor Lyles: Charlotte won’t ‘tolerate’ Trump rally ‘send her back’ chants at RNC 2020

Charlotte council members drafting stronger statement condemning chants and racism

Mayor Lyles: Charlotte won’t ‘tolerate’ Trump rally ‘send her back’ chants at RNC 2020

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Mayor Vi Lyles says the City of Charlotte “will not tolerate” racist and xenophobic hate speech when the RNC comes to the Queen City in 2020.

Her statement was in response to “send her back” chants from the crowd at a rally for President Donald Trump in Greenville, NC on Wednesday.

The city council has not issued a joint statement on the chants from the Trump rally, but WBTV is told that the council is considering putting a resolution on the agenda for Monday’s meeting that would condemn the “send her back” crowd chants and other divisive comments made by the President. The resolution would not address the RNC coming to Charlotte in 2020.

In July 2018, city council voted 6-5 to endorse the RNC coming to Charlotte. Mayor Vi Lyles was largely supportive of the measure and is credited with helping bring the RNC to Charlotte.

“As an inclusive city that welcomes all people, we open our doors to many, including those attending the RNC in 2020. However, the city of Charlotte is no place for racist or xenophobic hate speech, and we simply will not tolerate it,” Lyles wrote in a statement.

WBTV asked to specify what “will not tolerate it” means.

“It is her figure of speech to express her individual values. It is not a threat to dis-invite the RNC,” a spokesperson for the mayor wrote in a text message.

WBTV also reached out to MeckGOP for a statement on the “send her back” chants but they declined to comment. A spokesperson said they are still anticipating the RNC in Charlotte in 2020.

Even if city council were to re-vote on the RNC, it’s unclear what kind of impact that would have on the convention coming to Charlotte.

Below are statements from other city council members who voted in favor of endorsing the RNC 2020.

Earlier this week when crowds at a Trump rally chanted ‘send her back,’ in our own state, it was devastating to many of us, myself included. The behavior didn’t demonstrate the values of our country and added fuel to already tense political and racial relations. It also certainly didn’t represent the people of Charlotte. As an inclusive city that welcomes all people, we open our doors to many, including those attending the RNC in 2020. However, the city of Charlotte is no place for racist or xenophobic hate speech, and we simply will not tolerate it. It’s my hope that members of all political parties are able to discuss, engage and debate without personal insults and degradation but with respect – which is the cornerstone of leadership and democracy. Only in this way can we truly embrace the diversity of our communities and our country.
Mayor Vi Lyles
While I find the President’s behavior and racist comments unacceptable, I do not as yet regret my vote to bring the RNC to Charlotte. The vote passed by the slimmest of margins at 6 for and 5 against. If the vote were taken in today’s environment, it’s not unreasonable to think that a different vote outcome could be realized given the current climate and the President’s behavior. I’m not in favor of a re-vote. My biggest disappointment so far is the silence from the President’s own party to rebuke his comments in a manner that clearly separates his views from those committed to decency and civil discourse. Democracy is bigger than one President or one Party. It is the collective consensus of the American electorate on competing visions for our Nation regardless of party or political affiliation. My vote to support the RNC coming to Charlotte was based on my love for Democracy, and should not be seen as an endorsement of current Administration policy or its vision for America because it is not. I do not believe we should shun Democracy out of fear of violence or disagreement. We should be embracing it as a means to debate competing visions for our country in order to achieve a more united Nation and showcase Democracy to the world. I still believe it possible to do this despite the rantings by those who seek to undermine Democracy.
Councilman Gregg Phipps

Mayor Pro Tem Julie Eiselt: I believe that Charlotte is a city that is inclusive, accepting and welcoming to all people, even to those with whom we disagree. These are the values that great communities embrace. However, the behavior of the president, and his supporters who chanted ‘Send Her Back’ at yesterday’s rally in Greenville, was quite simply reprehensible. I hope that members of the Republican Party who cherish the values that this country was founded upon, will not remain silent. At the end of the day, the test of our Democracy lies in our willingness to engage each other with dignity while challenging one another on issues that really matter, without harm or degradation.

Councilman Tariq Bokhari has not responded to WBTV’s email request for a statement as of this publication.

The comments were repulsive. I don’t know how much I believe he (Trump) meant it but I’m glad he said he didn’t like it. I disagree with his claim that he tried to stop it. The (Charlotte City Council) vote on the RNC wasn’t a referendum on the president and whether he is someone we support. It’s our job and will be our focus that the convention goes as smoothly or safely as possible. That’s our focus. Many Charlotte leaders were among the people reaching out to the Republican Party that this is not acceptable. We can make it very clear that this kind of behavior or chants is something we would not find acceptable in the city or the arena. I’m hoping the President’s advisors are telling him that this isn’t something he should allow to continue. He didn’t take that road in Greenville this week and I hope there are people explaining to him what to do the next time around.
Councilman Larken Egleston (on the phone)

Councilman Ed Driggs has not responded to WBTV’s email request for a statement as of this publication.

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