He quoted Hitler. He called LGBT people ‘filth’. And now he could become North Carolina’s next governor

Mark Robinson rose to prominence after giving a viral gun rights speech at a Greensboro city council meeting. He could soon become the next governor of North Carolina. Gustaf Kilander reports

Wednesday 06 March 2024 19:57 GMT
North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson speaks at an election night event in Greensboro, N.C., Tuesday, March 5, 2024
North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson speaks at an election night event in Greensboro, N.C., Tuesday, March 5, 2024 (AP)

North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson revels in making offensive remarks – with a history that includes comparing abortion to slavery, quoting Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, and referring to LGBT+ people as “filth”.

And soon, he could take on the top job in the state.

As the state’s first African American lieutenant governor, Mr Robinson secured theRepublican nomination for North Carolina governor on Super Tuesday, setting him up to take on Democrat Josh Stein, the state’s attorney general since 2017, in the November race. Polling has been inconclusive, with both candidates ahead in some surveys.

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When it became clear that Mr Robinson would win the nomination on Super Tuesday, the Democratic Governors Association quickly set the tone for the upcoming campaign.

“Mark Robinson — a dangerous conspiracy theorist — is now the Republican nominee for North Carolina governor,” the association wrote on X.

“He wants to completely ban abortion with no exceptions and bring back NC’s notorious bathroom ban. We have to defeat him.”

Mr Robinson meanwhile has previously claimed that “the establishment is scared because I can’t be controlled”.

The Independent has attempted to reach Mr Robinson for comment.

Growing up as the ninth of ten children in Greensboro, Mr Robinson has said that his father was an abusive alcoholic, according to the News & Record.

After high school, he served in the Army Reserve, before going to university and subsequently working at a number of furniture factories and taking classes with the goal of becoming a history teacher, WRAL reported in 2022. He dropped out before completing his degree at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

He has said that his political interest grew after reading a book by the late right-wing radio shock-jock host Rush Limbaugh. He said he “found out that I was conservative and always had been”.

On 3 April 2018, he attended a Greensboro City Council meeting during which the council discussed whether or not they should cancel a gun show following the Parkland school shooting in Florida. Mr Robinson’s speech supporting gun rights was shared online and went viral, catapulting him into politics. He then left his job to take on public speaking opportunities.

He later won the election for lieutenant governor in 2020 and he has been in office since January 2021.

While he now fully opposes abortion, Mr Robinson wrote in 2012 that he once paid for an abortion. He has also pushed climate change denialism, Holocaust denialism and has suggested that he wants to remove science and social studies from first to fifth grade and abolish the state’s board of education.

In March 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic was getting underway, he appeared to suggest that it was a “globalist” conspiracy against Donald Trump.

“Sadly, what we suspect is true,” he wrote at the time. “It seems the globalist will stop at nothing to destroy the progress of American Exceptionalism that this PRESIDENT promised and DELIVERED.”

Here’s a rundown of Mr Robinson’s many controversies:

Antisemitic remarks

Before running for lieutenant governor, Mr Robinson frequently made antisemitic Facebook posts and downplayed Nazi atrocities.

He wildly claimed that the film Black Panther was “created by an agnostic Jew and put to film by [a] satanic Marxist,” and “was only created to pull the shekels out of your Schvartze pockets,” according to the North Carolina News & Observer.

Jewish Insider noted that the comments were “referring to Israeli currency” and he used a “Yiddish racial slur”.

Despite the uproar, Mr Robinson told WRAL in 2020: “I’m not ashamed of anything that I post.”

But in 2022, he then said his Black Panther comment was the only post he has ever apologised for. “I knew the truth of what I was trying to say, but I should have chosen different words,” he wrote in his memoir.

In a 2019 interview with pastor Sean Moon – a man who has said he plans to become “king” of the US – Mr Robinson agreed with Mr Moon’s conspiratorial comments that the Rothschild family was one of the “four horsemen of the apocalypse” and that the family of “international bankers ... rule every single ... central bank”.

The pastor cited the other three as being the CIA, China, and Islam, according to the News & Observer.

Mr Robinson has also been accused of Holocaust denial, claiming that “Hitler disarming MILLIONS of Jews and then marching them off to concentration camps is a bunch of hogwash”.

On 19 March 2018, he wrote on Facebook: “The center and left-leaning Weimar Republic put heavy gun ownership restrictions on German citizens long before the Nazis took power. This foolishness about Hitler disarming MILLIONS of Jews and then marching them off to concentration camps is a bunch of hogwash. Repeating that hogwash makes the conservative argument against the current attempts by liberal Marxists to push Unconstitutional gun control measures in this Nation look FOOLISH.”

Journalist Andy Kaczynski noted on X, formerly Twitter, on Wednesday that “Robinson does have a history of controversial remarks but the context of this quote is him saying the Holocaust happened because Jews were disarmed is ‘hogwash.’ He’s arguing that gun control happened in Germany before the Nazis — not saying the Holocaust was fake”.

But he has also posted: “There is a REASON the liberal media fills the airwaves with programs about the NAZI and the ‘6 million Jews’ they murdered. There is also a REASON those same liberals DO NOT FILL the airwaves with programs about the Communist and the 100+ million PEOPLE they murdered throughout the 20th century.”

Islamophobic rhetoric

Mr Robinson has also made Islamophobic comments, writing that they “refuse to assimilate to our ways while demanding respect they have not earned”.

They “are not ‘immigrants,’ they are INVADERS,” he added.

Transphobic and homophobic comments

Before becoming lieutenant governor, Mr Robinson posted online that those “who support this mass delusion called transgenderism” are attempting “to turn God’s creation backwards, and make it into a sickening image of rebellion to glorify Satan”.

Mr Robinson has also referred to former First Lady Michelle Obama as a man and called former President Barack Obama “a worthless, anti-American atheist who wanted to bring this nation to its knees”.

“Dear Transgender crowd, You CANNOT tran-sin GOD’S creation. Sincerely, A Bible Thumper,” he posted in 2016.

That same year, he also wrote: “Nothing is more disgusting to me than effeminate males who carry purses and have earrings in their ears. #stomachturningmadness.”

This came after a 2014 post, in which he wrote: “Note to liberals; I’ll accept ‘Gay Pride’ when you accept ‘White Pride,’” according to Talking Points Memo.

“I believe that homosexuality is a sin and that those people who are ‘proudly coming out of the closet’’ are standing in open rebellion against God…………….AND I DON’T CARE WHO KNOWS IT OR LIKES IT!!!!!” he wrote on 27 February 2014.

In June 2016, 49 people were killed in a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Florida. Within a week, Mr Robinson wrote: “Okay here it is and it may make some folks mad, but oh well…… First, let me say that I pray for the souls of all those killed, healing for all those wounded, and comfort for the family members of the terrorist shooting in Orlando”.

“However, homosexuality is STILL an abominable sin and I WILL NOT join in ‘celebrating gay pride’ nor will I fly their sacrilegious flag on my page. Sorry if this offends anyone,” he added at the time.

Talking Points Memo noted last year that Mr Robinson has referred to gay relationships as a “sin,” a “mass delusion,” a “FILTHY ABOMINATION,” as well as a “satanic cult of sexual perversion”.

In 2013, he wrote: “The Rainbow is the beautiful symbol of God’s promise to man. IT IS NOT the symbol of sickening homosexual perversion!!!!”

Quoting Hitler

In 2014, Mr Robinson echoed Hitler’s rhetoric on Facebook in a statement about racial pride.

Last July, he argued that he didn’t support the Nazi leader just because he quoted him.

“Because you quoted Hitler, you support Hitler,” he said during a speech. “I guess every history book in America supports Hitler now. They all quote him.”

“And here’s the thing,” he added. “Whether you’re talking about Adolf Hitler, whether you’re talking about Chairman Mao, whether you’re talking about Stalin, whether you’re talking about Pol Pot, whether you’re talking about Castro in Cuba, or whether you’re talking about a dozen other despots all around the globe, it is time for us to get back and start reading some of those quotes.”

“It’s time for us to start teaching our children about the dirty, despicable, awful things that those communist and socialist despots did in our history,” he added.

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