GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – Those headline-grabbing speeches and controversial public statements by North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Keith Robinson apparently didn’t just emerge after he rose to fame in a speech to the Greensboro City Council in 2018.
Robinson, a Greensboro native and the highest elected Republican in state government, became a conservative hero from a fiery speech about guns rights to the council, which led to national exposure, an embrace from the National Rifle Association and, ultimately, the job he now has and the one he may pursue: succeeding Roy Cooper as governor in 2024.
Axios Raleigh reported Thursday that Robinson is planning to announce his bid next month, when he is having a rally at the Ace Speedway in Alamance County. Several Republicans, including former Rep. Mark Walker and State Treasurer Dale Folwell have been considering bids.
Such an election likely will focus on Robinson’s often headline-making rancor about race, sexual orientation, abortion and other cultural issues, and how we know that those positions were in place long before that evening when his face became a YouTube sensation.
Talking Points Memo, the independent news site, went back seven years to study Robinson’s posts on Facebook to get a broader and much deeper understanding of his most controversial views and how they had manifested historically.
What TPM found in posts that dated back as far as 2012 is a remarkable study of the roots of a public outrage that sometimes embraced Q-Anon conspiracy theories, reinforced antisemitism, denied history and portrayed what would be perceived as the portrait of a white supremacist – if Robinson weren’t Black.
In his posts, Robinson attacked not only the LGBTQ community, as he has often, but also immigrants, Jews and Blacks, sometimes in highly offensive terms. He characterized those who participated in the assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as “political prisoners.”
TPM reported that neither Robinson nor his staff responded to a request for comment. WGHP on Wednesday contacted his spokesperson for a comment but has received no response.
‘Robinson’s own words’
TPM said it posted “Robinson’s own words in as close to their original format as possible.” The presentation included screenshots of many posts dating to February 2014.
Robinson is in his first elected position, but he is considered by many to be the leading candidate to win the GOP nomination for governor, which he has mentioned but not formally announced. Some polls have shown him equal to the only confirmed candidate, Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein.
Robinson, who has been a supporter of former President Donald Trump, recently spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference convention in Washington, D.C., as he has previously. He also was chosen by the GOP to give its response to Cooper’s “State of the State Address,” a role usually filled by a legislative leader.
Axios Raleigh said Robinson’s announcement for his race for governor would occur at the Ace Speedway in Alamance County, which was the speedway that defied Cooper’s orders to close during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ace Speedway’s owners ultimately sued the state.
Robinson is one of 10 children who grew up in Greensboro. His bio on his campaign website said he is married, the father of two and the grandfather of one. He spent one tour in the U.S. Army and has studied at both North Carolina A&T State University and UNC Greensboro, where he most recently pursued a degree in history.
The bio says he has owned his own daycare (with his wife), has worked in various industries and has managed a restaurant. He had not pursued office before his run for lieutenant governor.
Last September, Robinson published a memoir, “We Are the Majority: The Life and Passions of a Patriot,” in which he decries public education, describes climate change as “junk science” and characterizes abortion as “murder.”
MLK and 9-11
But the assortment of comments reviewed by TPM is much more extreme. It includes numerous attacks on the Black community and the NAACP and the liberals who he said misled them.
Robinson’s post includes a lot of name-calling that would not be accepted in social circles, and it includes racially charged memes and shares.
TPM’s report included this: “Random thought; (after Christmas edition),” Robinson wrote in early January 2018. “Kwanzaa is Hanukkah on food stamps.”
And this: “Thomas Jefferson and ‘Dr.’ Martin Luther King Jr. both had faults. Why is it only acceptable to talk about Jefferson’s?” Robinson asked.
He also said that he does not believe the moon landing was faked or that 9-11 was an “inside job,” but wrote, “If I found both were true…I wouldn’t be surprised.”