RALEIGH – On Friday, July 31, the North Carolina Republican Party held a press conference announcing a public records request into Gov. Roy Cooper’s schedule and travel records since January 1.
“Gov. Cooper has previously claimed he doesn’t like emails and prefers face-to-face visits, but we’re not seeing any evidence of that at all,” said NCGOP chairman Michael Whatley at the press conference. “The public has no idea what he is doing since he’s been holed up at the governor’s mansion.”
Whatley said the last events Cooper is known to have attended were at his primary victory event in Raleigh on March 3 and at an out-of-state fundraiser in Tampa, Fla. On March 5.
The full request asks the governor’s office for any document, paper, file, or other physical or electronic media concerning Gov. Cooper’s schedule, travel plans, flight plans, and travel finance reports.
Since May, Whatley noted that six Trump administration officials have made visits to the state, including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Robert Redfield, U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia, President Donald Trump, and Vice President Mike Pence.
“We find is amazing the Trump administration has spent more time on the road talking about issues in the state than the governor has,” Whatley added.
Whatley also noted that press conferences to provide COVID-19 updates are being held without reporters present and in violation of Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) recommendations.
The RTDNA says reporters should be allowed to attend briefings and ask questions, as well as follow-up questions, in person. The RTDNA also says rotating pools should be done among news organizations so pictures and sound emanating from briefings are controlled by journalists, not government. N.C. Emergency Management has taken on the task of streaming video and providing photos from the Emergency Operations Center during Gov. Cooper’s briefings.
“Accountability to the media is very important, we are able to hold press conferences here at headquarters, problematic he has a political operation screening questions,” said Whatley.
The full letter can be viewed here.