North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory on Friday criticized federal guidelines to public schools on transgender students.

In a letter Friday, officials from the Justice and Education departments advised public schools, colleges and universities to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice.

While the issue has been simmering for years, it came to a boil in North Carolina after the state became the first to approve a law that requires transgender people to use the public bathrooms that correspond with their sex at birth.

Appearing on NPR's All Things Considered, McCrory reiterated his support for House Bill 2.

“Most people had never heard of this issue five months ago, until the political left started saying, 'We need bathroom rules and policies,' not just for government facilities and schools but also for the private sector,” McCrory said.

In a statement, McCrory called on Congress to intervene.

“Most Americans, including this governor, believe that government is searching for a solution to a problem that has yet to be defined. Now, both the federal courts and the U.S. Congress must intercede to stop this massive executive branch overreach, which clearly oversteps constitutional authority,” he said.

North Carolina Senate leader Phil Berger added in a separate statement: “The last time I checked, the United States is not ruled by a king who can bypass Congress and the courts and force school-aged boys and girls to share the same bathrooms and locker rooms. This is an egregiously unconstitutional overreach of the president's authority, and North Carolina's public schools should follow state law which protects our children's safety and privacy.”

Jay Brown, communications director at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), criticized the Republican governor for playing “politics with the lives of transgender students.”

“These guidelines, which teachers and administrators were requesting, are supported by case law and have been enforced now for years. In fact, the Fourth Circuit recently ruled in favor of a transgender student suing his school for exactly the type of discrimination that is described in this guidance. Governor McCrory – and any governor who expresses similar resistance to complying with federal civil rights law – risks not only losing billions in federal funding but also risks the safety of students,” Brown said.