State lawmaker behind viral #Iwillnotyield moment: 'It's a tragic day in North Carolina politics'

Democratic state Rep. Deb Butler, who spoke out in a video that went viral after the North Carolina state House overrode Gov. Roy Cooper's (D) veto of the state budget, told MSNBC it was a "tragic day" for the state.

"It’s a tragic day in North Carolina politics, honestly," she told MSNBC on Wednesday night. "We used to be known as the shining star of the South, and now, we're a place of scorched earth politics." 


The veto override occurred with nearly half of the House's members absent. Many were attending committee meetings during the 55-9 Wednesday morning vote called by the Republican Speaker, and at least one was at a 9/11 anniversary ceremony. 

Democrats say Rules Committee Chairman David R. Lewis told them there would be no votes until 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

Butler, who described herself as "chronically punctual," was present at the vote "by sheer luck," she told MSNBC.

"I saw it begin to unfold and was just aghast and tried to intervene as best I could," she said. 

In the video that went viral, Butler can be seen shouting at House Speaker Tim Moore (R), and then grabbing a microphone that some, including Moore, attempt to turn off. Colleagues of Butler appear to shield her from police. 

The video sparked the #IWillNotYield hashtag on social media, after Butler shouted that to Moore.

“How dare you subject this body to trickery, deceptive practices — hijacking the process. We have been here day and night for months, defending what we believe — and you would submit this body to trickery, deception, deceit," she said. "It is so typical of the way you conduct yourself.” 

The Democratic state representative said it was "more than she could bear" seeing the Speaker making the motion about the budget, Butler told MSNBC.

"When I saw the speaker about to rob my colleagues of their hard work, it was more than I could bear," Butler said.

"It was a day I'll never forget, and I'm totally humiliated that North Carolina has sunk to this level," she said.

Butler told MSNBC this action has put "steel on the spine of every person in my caucus."