North Carolina Budget Director Art Pope and the Rev. William Barber of the North Carolina NAACP had a sharp, but respectful, exchange Monday in Raleigh, with Barber insisting that the Republican administration's policies have hurt African-Americans and the poor and Pope defending the administration.
Pope has been dubbed "The Knight of the Right" for his support of conservative causes, and Barber has led the opposition to the GOP agenda, including the Moral Monday protests that gathered steam last spring.
The two men faced each other Monday with cameras rolling as Barber handed Pope a letter and kept pushing Pope to meet with him.
Pope defended his company, Variety Wholesalers, which includes Maxway and Rose's stores.
"Do you realize over one third of our employees are African-American?" Pope asked Barber.
"And do you realize the policies you are supporting are hurting the very people who are spending their checks here?" Barber responded.
Pope said the administration policies were helping add jobs in the state. But Barber said Pope was supporting damaging policies such as cutting benefits to the unemployed.
Barber and his allies held a news conference urging Pope to renounce GOP initiatives approved by Gov. Pat McCrory and the legislature.