Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made national headlines this week when he came to Fort Worth and said school superintendent Kent Scribner should resign. Scribner refused, and defended his decision to rework the district's rules for transgender students. Patrick, in Dallas for the state Republican convention, refuses to back down. On Thursday, he called Scribner "a dictator."
Interview highlights: Patrick on...
….Why is he focusing on the bathroom issue:
"Being lieutenant governor is a 24/7 job. People who think this is just a sidebar issue, or a distraction, are flat wrong. The fact that men in ladies rooms is a non-issue shows you how far they are detached from mainstream America."
…Protecting transgender kids:
"Everyone deserves protection. No one should be harassed, no one should be bullied and people deserve protection. That does not mean you take the transgender population and allow a young student who's a boy into the shower at a high school. That's not about protecting, or about being against the transgender student, it's about the common sense of public policy."
…Whether his actions run counter to local control:
"Did the people have a say what happened in their community? The answer is no. There was no hearing, there was no school board vote, the parents were kept in the dark. There is no local control. So when a dictator who parades himself as a superintendent, who issues an executive order in secret to bypass local control, then I have a role to step in. Not to mention the fact that we send about $350 million to the school district. This is another lie. We caught them with their hand in the cookie jar. They won't admit it's not popular, they won't admit it's disruptive to the school day and they won't admit that part of the guidelines violate Texas education code and violate the law."
…Whether he worries about businesses leaving Texas as they have in North Carolina:
"No, this is all fear-mongering. They call those of us who want to stand up for our view as being bullies and hateful. That's all part of the spin. Part of that is you're going to lose business, that's what they said in Houston. Guess what? We had the Final Four, we have the Super Bowl coming and we more business moving to Houston than most major cities in the United States. It is just nonsense."
…Businesses leaving North Carolina:
"If I were a CEO of a company, I'd want to move to North Carolina or Texas. If I had children, I'd want to move to those states. It's just not real. If an entertainer doesn't want to come? Fine, someone else will book that date. If a business doesn't want to move there? There will be another business that will be happy to take their place."
…Bringing the Republican party together:
"If Ted Cruz were the nominee, I wish he were, but if he wasn't then I'd be going to all the Donald Trump folks and say, 'Hey, a deal's a deal. We'll support you if you're the nominee; you need to support us.' We need to unify. There are a lot of people at the convention who didn't like Mitt Romney, but we supported him. They didn't like John McCain, but we supported him. That's what happens. By the way, the other party, I think they actually have a much wider divide than we do."