Mayor Lyles Says Charlotte 'Won't Tolerate' Racist Speech - But Says RNC Still On

Jul 19, 2019

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles wrote on Twitter Friday that the chant of "Send her Back" at a Trump rally in Greenville "was devastating to many of us, myself included" and that the city "is no place for racist or xenophobic hate speech, and we simply will not tolerate it."

But the mayor did not elaborate on how the city would not tolerate such speech. Her spokesperson, Jeremy Mills, said Lyles would give an interview about her statement, and he said that the mayor was not threatening to cancel the 2020 Republican National Convention at the Spectrum Center.

A year ago, the Democratic-majority City Council voted 6-5 in favor of hosting the RNC.

Lyles has championed the convention in Charlotte, though President Trump's controversial Tweets and statements have put her in a difficult position. Many Democratic activists oppose the city hosting the convention, and Lyles said last year that she will not give a welcoming speech to delegates.

Democratic Council member Justin Harlow, who voted against the RNC last July, said Thursday he is working on a resolution for Monday's meeting that would condemn the president and his supporters at the Greenville rally.

Charlotte attorney Noell Tin wrote on Facebook after the rally that, as a Democrat, he initially supported the city hosting the RNC, but he said he has changed his mind.

"I now hope the city will reconsider," Tin wrote. "The president’s campaign is barely underway and it is already clear that racially divisive politics is central to his reelection strategy. His fellow Republicans are standing right there with him. The rally in Greenville is just the start. A call for American-born opponents who are minorities to leave the country includes many Charlotte residents, including yours truly. This is worth taking a stand on. Charlotte simply has no obligation to indulge this sort of behavior."

While liberal activists questioned the city's decision to host, as well as the council's 2018 vote, the RNC has not yet become an issue in this fall's city elections.

Lyles did not draw a top-tier opponent, either in the Democratic primary or from a Republican in the general election.

Four Democrats are challenging her: Roderick Davis, Lucille Puckett, Joel Odom and Tigress Sydney Acute McDaniel.

David Michael Race — a perennial candidate — is the Republican.

The Republicans have not won a citywide election in Charlotte since 2009, when Edwin Peacock won an at-large seat.

This year, the GOP has one candidate who has filed to run at-large: Joshua Richardson.

Seven Democrats are running for the four at-large seats. They include the four current at-large council members — Julie Eiselt, Braxton Winston, James Mitchell and Dimple Ajmera — as well as LaWana Mayfield, who represents District 3.

Two other Democrats are running: Chad Stachowicz and Jorge Millares.

The party primaries are Sept. 10.