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Good morning. Congratulations, it’s Friday.
It’s been a busy news week in North Carolina politics land, and most of the headlines we’ve seen in the past few days center around one person: Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson. But this isn’t the first time he’s made national news.
Before being elected in 2020, Robinson’s claim to fame was a 2018 viral video from a Greensboro City Council meeting, in which Robinson advocates for gun rights.
Last week, the left-leaning website Right Wing Watch unearthed a video of Robinson that’s gone viral. It captured Robinson saying in June that “transgenderism” and homosexuality are “filth.” Since that video began circulating, my colleague Danielle Battaglia has reported state lawmakers and activists continue to call for Robinson’s resignation, and the White House even weighed in, saying his words were “repugnant and offensive.”
Robinson, who serves on the state school board, has since doubled and tripled down, explaining that he made the comments in the context of advocating that the “sexualization of children” should be removed from “the classroom and our public education system.”
Side note: In a video released over the weekend, Robinson also highlighted sexually explicit books in North Carolina schools. Danielle reported that teachers in Wake County aren’t using those books in classrooms, although they are in some school libraries.
Robinson’s anti-LGBTQ comments seem to have caught much more attention than other things he’s said in the past, but his statements aren’t entirely unprecedented.
Here’s some of Robinson’s rhetoric that The News & Observer reported before the election last year.
He’s said people “who support this mass delusion called transgenderism” are trying “to turn God’s creation backwards, and make it into a sickening image of rebellion to glorify Satan.”
He said the popular movie “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,” using a Yiddish slur for Black.
Muslims, he said, “refuse to assimilate to our ways while demanding respect they have not earned.” He argues that they “are not ‘immigrants,’ they are INVADERS.”
He’s criticized Black voters for supporting the Democratic Party given its past racist stances. He says they’re “voting for the very people who have abused them throughout our history. That’s what happens when negroes don’t read.”
He referred to former First Lady Michelle Obama as a man.
He referred to former President Barack Obama as “a worthless, anti-American atheist who wanted to bring this nation to it knees.”
He’s described TV talk show host Joy Behar as a “she beast.”
He nicknamed U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters “Ol’ Maxie Pad” Waters.
He agreed with with a religious leader who said the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” are the Rothschild family of “international bankers that rule every single” central bank, the CIA, China and Islam.
The religious leader, Sean Moon, also said “the wage for sin is death.” Robinson agreed, saying that’s “absolutely right” and that gay people should pray to be cured, like alcoholics.
He’s falsely claimed climate change “has not been proven scientifically.”
Robinson also logged questionable spending on his campaign finance reports, Danielle reported in February.
What Robinson will do next in his political career is still unclear, but he appears to be gearing up for a run for higher office. He’s already ruled out a run for U.S. Senate in 2022, but not a run for governor.
WHAT WE’RE READING
This report by ProPublica about how Rutherford County, Tennessee locks up kids is shocking and worth every minute of your time: Black Children Were Jailed for a Crime That Doesn’t Exist. Almost Nothing Happened to the Adults in Charge.
From a journalist who spent some time in the hospital recently: Simple acts of gratitude are our saddest loss, by Jacqui Banaszynski for the Methow Valley News.
MORE BIG STORIES FROM THE TEAM
Gov. Roy Cooper signed a long-awaited, and controversial, energy bill Wednesday. Adam Wagner has a story about what the now-law means for you, and I reported how the bill’s passage makes way for a possible budget compromise between the Republican-controlled legislature and the governor.
The Proud Boys showed up at an Orange County School Board meeting Monday, Keung Hui and I report.
Everything you need to know about North Carolina’s budget process, from Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan.
North Carolina political officials are reacting along party lines to the FBI’s move to investigate school board threats, Dawn and Keung report.
One more thing before I go: My coworker, Tyler Dukes, launched a special edition of our Under the Dome Podcast called Monster: Math, maps and power in North Carolina. It’s about the redistricting process here, and I’ve learned so much from it. I know you will too.
Thanks for reading. See you next week.