NC Democratic Rep. Wins 'Breakthrough' Award Based on Something She Didn't Do at Infamous 9/11 House Session

NC Democrat state Rep. Deb Butler

North Carolina State Rep. Deb Butler (D-New Hanover) erupts during a House session on 9/11/19. Screen grab via the Associated Press.

Last month, I wrote about how the Washington Post and a number of other mainstream media news outlets were responsible for spreading fake news about a North Carolina House session that took place on 9/11 in which the Republican majority overrode Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s budget veto.


The national news outlets erroneously reported that the vote was deliberately held while numerous Democratic state legislators were at 9/11 remembrance ceremonies. The reality of it was that only one House Democrat is on record as not being at the General Assembly due to attendance at a 9/11 memorial.

What was also widely reported at the time was how one Democratic state legislator – Deb Butler – erupted on the House floor, claiming Republicans had tricked Democrats into not attending the session, which allowed for the veto override to take place (Republicans do not have a veto-proof majority in either chamber). While on the House floor angrily clutching the microphone, Butler yelled “I will not yield!”

It became a rallying cry for Democrats.

While it’s not true that Republicans “lied” about legislative business that was to take place that morning, Butler was applauded in Democratic circles and rose to national fame thanks to appearances on and interviews with news outlets like MSNBC.

Because of this, the Victory Institute, which is an LGBTQ PAC, nominated Butler for the Tammy Baldwin Breakthrough Award. Baldwin, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, is the first openly gay Senator, according to the group. Here’s what the Victory Institute said about Butler’s nomination:


As the Democratic Whip of the North Carolina House, Deb Butler is a warrior for North Carolina’s LGBTQ community. Under the rallying cry of “I Will Not Yield,” Butler recently derided Republicans’ underhanded voting tactics, even resisting arrest to pursue justice. During her time in the House, she has fought for causes ranging from fair districts to common sense gun reform.

It was announced Wednesday that Butler won the award (hat tip: A.P. Dillon).

But here’s the kicker: Butler did not “resist arrest.” There were claims that some of her fellow House Democrats were surrounding her to “protect” her from the police, but the claims are both laughable and absurd. You can see law enforcement in the background of the below video, but they were there in case a fight broke out, because things were pretty tense that day. Watch:

I pointed this out to Victory Institute:


Democrats who are reading this don’t just have to take my word for it, either. Journalist Colin Campbell, who covers state politics for the NC Insider and the Raleigh News and Observer, pointed out at the time of her nomination that at no point did she face arrest:

Not only did she not “resist arrest”, but her attempt at “resisting” a veto override ultimately backfired, as North Carolina radio talk show host Pete Kaliner points out:

Fact check: True, according to the News and Observer.


Butler might be a leader in the LGBTQ community, but her “resist” moment (which she won the award for) failed spectacularly because she and other Democrats on the House floor did not know the rules. As a result, Republicans overrode the veto.

Rep. Butler has not acknowledged this inconvenient fact, nor has she corrected the false “resisted arrest” claim for the record. As a result, I was left with no choice but to correct it for her.

Sorry not sorry, Deb.

— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –


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