How low can they go?

Published September 14, 2023

By Gary Pearce

You’ve hit bottom when Donald Trump Jr. accuses you of “shady back room deals.”

He tweeted about North Carolina legislators’ machinations on casinos: “What’s going on in NC? Outrageous. Shady back room deals and crony capitalism are not the path to #MAGA!”

One thing the Trumps surely know is The Art of the Shady Deal.

He was responding to the right-wing Republican group CPAC, which said:

“Lots of troubling reports of backroom deals and arm twisting coming out of North Carolina. A full-scale expansion of gaming, including video terminals and new casinos, is being wedged into a budget bill that was supposed to be about tax cuts for the people of the state. Transparency is dying in the darkness. Freedom Caucus Members – Stand Strong and hold the line.”

In their caucus, 31 of the 72 House Republicans reportedly voted against casinos.

House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger want casinos, even though some of their own voters came to Raleigh last week to protest.

The only way to ram casinos through the legislature is by sticking them in the budget.

Legislators who resist may find their local projects left out.

Will money trump Christian conservatives’ “morality”?

Governor Cooper will have a good veto message: “I won’t sign a budget that cheats teachers and schoolchildren and rewards casino owners.”

It’s a shady back-room deal. Even a Trump can see that.