RALEIGH (WTVD) --Advocates for Gov. Pat McCrory and Attorney General Roy Cooper dueled it out in competing press releases and "on background" phone calls, in turn blaming the other for further muddying the water around House Bill 2.
The spat started when the Governor's staff noticed court documents Cooper filed last week, suggesting he would represent the state. You can see those court documents here.
But a spokesperson for Cooper says the court filings were procedural and in keeping with the Attorney General's position that the state deserves a defense, whether it's his office or another. The document filed by Cooper's office asks a judge for more time for the state to respond to the lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Cooper's spokesperson said he won't defend the state on the merits of House Bill 2 but felt it was his responsibility as the state's Attorney general to request more time for the Governor's attorneys to prepare a defense.
And that was when the Governor's campaign spokesperson, Ricky Diaz, called for Cooper's resignation.
"Cooper should resign immediately, not only for gross incompetence, but also the serious professional and ethical conflicts of interests he has brought upon himself by siding with the Obama administration instead of defending North Carolina," Diaz said.
But NC Democratic Party Chairwoman Patsy Keever says not when state law conflicts with federal law. "The Attorney General has the responsibility to represent the state but HB2, we're thinking, is an unconstitutional law to begin with; and you don't support something that's unconstitutional."
"He's sending wildly conflicting messages," Diaz said, "and beyond that, he's continuing to trash the law and refusing to stand up to the Obama Administration. His duty as Attorney General is to defend North Carolina."
Read all ABC11 stories about HB2 here
Cooper campaign spokesman Ford Porter took aim at the governor.
"It's clear that Governor McCrory will go to any length and say anything to avoid taking responsibility for his disastrous discrimination law that is costing North Carolina thousands of jobs and millions of dollars. North Carolinians deserve better'" said campaign spokesman Ford Porter.
The Cooper campaign told ABC11 later Thursday that the attorney general had no plans to resign.
HB2 was designed to block a Charlotte non-discrimination ordinance, part of which allowed transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms of the gender they identify with. The state law requires people to use the restroom according to their biological sex listed on their birth certificate in government buildings, schools, and universities.
The law also excludes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from anti-discrimination protections and blocks municipalities from adopting their own anti-discrimination and living wage rules.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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