SANDERS: A year ago today, Cooper broke his trust with North Carolinians

[Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jon gets into the weeds in all kinds of policy areas, including electricity, occupational licensing, hydraulic fracturing, the minimum wage, poverty and opportunity, state rulemaking, film and other incentives programs, certificates of need, and cronyism.]

A year ago today, Gov. Roy Cooper blatantly betrayed the trust of all North Carolinians and embarked on his present course of open-ended rule by executive order under the guise of an emergency. He had already violated the letter and spirit of state law concerning emergency management, confident in protection by party-first Democrats in the General Assembly and ideological sympathy at the state Supreme Court.

Nevertheless, April 23, 2020, was when Cooper was supposedly going to give the hoped-for reopening announcement. The end of his “thirty days … to slow the spread” was fast approaching, and his shutdown and home lockdown order was to expire on April 29.

It had been a tough month, but citizens and business owners had taken it as their civic duty to help flatten the curve. People had adopted the mantra “We’re all in this together” as a nod to our shared sacrifice. As the day approached, the governor had even said that the state had flattened the curve, which was important because it was Cooper’s stated rationale for all his executive orders.

Here’s a sample of what media were reporting leading up to that day’s announcement:

  • WRAL: “Governor Cooper expected to announce reopening plan Thursday afternoon”
  • News & Observer: “Gov. Cooper expected to announce state reopening plans. How to watch his press conference.”
  • WTVD: “9:15 a.m. … Gov. Roy Cooper is slated to speak at 3 p.m. Sources tell ABC11 that Cooper will talk about his plan for reopening the state. State Health Director Dr. Betsey Tilson, one of Cooper’s advisors, said nobody wants to reopen the state more than Cooper.”

What actually happened?

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