Cheyenne Mayor Accuses Wyoming Governor of ‘Temper Tantrum'; Gordon ‘Offended’
Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr is accusing Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon of using profane and misogynistic language toward her in an effort to intimidate her during a meeting on Friday.
Gordon responded Monday that Orr mischaracterized the meeting, although he apologized for using an obscenity.
"At no time during the conversation was I standing up or using intimidating body language," Gordon said in a prepared statement. "The notion that I have anything but the utmost respect for women is simply not true."
Orr alleges that three of Gordon's staff witnessed the event. She says that at one point Gordon stood up from the table, slammed his fists down onto the table and yelled "F--- you, Mayor," into Orr's face when he didn't get his way.
"It's one thing to have a disagreement on an issue," Orr said in a statement to media. "But to lose your temper in front of your own staff, slam your fists on the table, get in someone's face, and yell 'f--- you' because you don't like the way the discussion is going is abominable."
"It was threatening and intimidating behavior," Orr continued. "He is much larger than I and used his physical presence in an aggressive and threatening manner."
Orr, who endorsed Gordon during his campaign for office last year, said Monday that she would not have endorsed him had she known that "he was capable of this."
"And to be comfortable enough to do this in front of three of your own staff is telling about one's character," Orr said.
The argument between herself and Governor Gordon, Orr said, stemmed from the Taiwanese government's interest in sending delegates to Cheyenne Frontier Days. The second-largest city in Taiwan, Taichung, is a sister-city with Cheyenne, and Orr says she has hosted numerous meetings with the country's representatives.
Orr claims that in her discussions with Taiwanese officials, those officials mentioned they liked the fact that the President of Taiwan was the first female elected head of state from the country, and Orr was the first female elected mayor of Cheyenne.
According to Orr, Gordon mocked her statement in Friday's meeting.
"In a very condescending tone, he said, 'Do you really think the President of Taiwan cares about Wyoming's suffrage movement?'" Orr said.
In her statement Monday, Orr said she decided over the weekend to go public regarding the incident because such behavior may continue if not publicly condemned. She said the Friday incident is similar to two recent events involving State Auditor Kristi Racines and former Wyoming Republic Party director Kristi Wallin.
"We must stand up against this and publicly condemn it. We can't just hope it goes away because it doesn't," Orr said.
The Governor is issuing the following statement in response to comments made by Cheyenne Mayor Marion Orr about their meeting on Friday, May 31.
I am deeply offended by the mischaracterization represented in the Mayor’s description of our meeting Friday. At no time during the conversation was I standing up or using intimidating body language. The notion that I have anything but the utmost respect for women is simply not true. I stand by my record on that point. I am not proud of my language and I apologize for the word I used. I have reached out to the Mayor to apologize for it.
The background for our meeting was to better coordinate the visit of a foreign head of state. If this were to happen it would be an historic moment, but I had been trying to emphasize the gravity of the situation. I was concerned that Wyoming not be used as a pawn between Taiwan, China and the United States.
Additionally, coordinating transportation through Colorado, providing adequate security during the delegation’s visit, and working together to facilitate the very best experience for an important world-trade partner were all issues we hoped to explore.
I hope to sit down with the Mayor soon and hear out her concerns so we can have a positive relationship going forward, to ensure the potential visit by the Taiwanese President is carried off with all proper protocol, that public safety needs are met, and taxpayer money is spent appropriately.