Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr has accused Gov. Mark Gordon of a “profane and misogynistic temper tantrum” during a meeting between the two Republican officials on Friday.
In a statement issued Monday, Orr said Gordon “slammed his fists on the table” and yelled “f — you, mayor!” She called his behavior “abominable.”
“It was threatening and intimidating,” she said. “He is much larger than I and used his physical presence in an aggressive and threatening manner.”
Gordon publicly responded to Orr on Monday, apologizing for his foul language but denying that he acted in a physically threatening manner. He said in a statement he was “deeply offended by the mischaracterization represented in the Mayor’s description of our meeting.”
“At no time during the conversation was I standing up or using intimidating body language,” he said. “The notion that I have anything but the utmost respect for women is simply not true. I stand by my record on that point.”
The governor said he is “not proud of his language,” adding that he later apologized to Orr on Monday. According to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Orr initially accepted his apology, but changed her mind after reading his statement.
Orr endorsed Gordon in the election last fall. She said in the statement that she would not have “had I known that he was capable of this.”
The episode played out before three members of Gordon’s staff, two of whom confirmed he used profanity but disputed Orr’s account of physical intimidation, according to the Tribune Eagle. None of Orr’s staff were present.
The two leaders were meeting to discuss the possibility of Taiwan’s president visiting Cheyenne for the Frontier Days celebration in July. As Wyoming tries to maintain trade relationships with both Taiwan and China — which considers Taiwan a province pretending to be an independent nation — Gordon said he was “concerned that Wyoming not be used as a pawn between Taiwan, China and the United States.”
The clash drew statewide attention Monday when Orr’s office published the allegations.
Before the news broke, Gordon sat for an interview with the News&Guide on Saturday, the day after his meeting with Orr.
In Teton County for the Wyoming Medical Society’s annual meeting at Jackson Lake Lodge, Gordon met with a reporter at Dornan’s. He outlined his ideas to reduce spending across state government but acknowledged those savings won’t make up for Wyoming’s deficit of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Gordon, the former state treasurer, has advocated a more methodical and approach to government spending.
“We need to have in our budget essentially a logic that people in the state understand as to how the cuts will be made,” he said. “If we cannot afford to do all the things that the state does, I want to make it clear in a logic how we’re going to go about cutting out programs that we can’t afford.”
As part of his push for fiscal transparency, Gordon said, his administration plans to roll out a website showing the state’s funds and how they are used.