You may want to find a calm and peaceful moment to do so and take a few deep breaths before plunging in, but if you care about North Carolina and its future, you would probably do well to read reporter Matthew Cassel’s story for Jewish Insider this morning about the highest ranking Republican in state government — our new Lt. Governor, Mark Robinson.
As Cassel explains in “North Carolina’s lieutenant governor has Jewish community on high alert,” Robinson continues to do little to assuage the concerns that were raised during last year’s campaign and during the weeks that followed about the numerous hateful and ignorant statements he has made down through the years about groups and individual he sees as adverse to his extremist belief system.
The lieutenant governor, a devout Christian who presents as a brash and unfiltered conservative culture warrior, invoked a number of antisemitic tropes in the years leading up to his election. In strongly worded Facebook posts, he decried a “globalist” conspiracy to “destroy” former President Donald Trump and took aim at “Black Panther,” the Marvel film whose titular protagonist, as Robinson put it, was “created by an agnostic Jew and put to film by [a] satanic marxist.” He went on to allege, using a Yiddish slur, that the movie “was only created to pull the shekels out of your Schvartze pockets.”
Last fall, Raleigh’s News & Observer unearthed an interview in which Robinson spoke with a fringe pastor, Sean Moon, who claimed that the modern incarnation of the four horsemen of the apocalypse includes China, the CIA, Islam and the Rothschild family of “international bankers that rule every single national or federal reserve-type style of central bank in every single country.”
Rather than objecting to the blatantly antisemitic conspiracy theory, Robinson grunted along in agreement. “That’s exactly right,” he said.
Cassel’s story also goes on to explore the downright bizarre and positively Trumpian stance Robinson has voiced in recent weeks that he doesn’t need to apologize for past hateful statements because — we’re not making this up — he uttered them prior to taking office.
“When I made those posts as a private citizen, I was speaking directly to issues that I’m passionate about,” he said at the news conference in early February. “As a public servant, I have to put those opinions behind me and do what’s right for everyone in North Carolina,” he added. “I’m grown enough to do that.”
Who knew that getting elected to office could provide such a handy slate cleaner for past offensive actions?
Not surprisingly, Cassel’s story features statements from a number of prominent figures — rabbis, elected officials — denouncing Robinson’s dangerous and cringe-inducing behavior.
Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC), a first-term congresswoman and Jewish activist from Robinson’s hometown of Greensboro, expressed a similar view, describing the lieutenant governor’s statements as “appalling” in comments to JI. “His hate-filled rhetoric is laced with sexism, discrimination and antisemitism,” said Manning, the former chairwoman of the Jewish Federations of North America. “His words contribute to the division in our nation that is fueling the rise in hate crimes and extremism and they degrade the office he occupies.”
Unfortunately, neither Robinson nor other leaders in the North Carolina Republican Party appear too concerned. Indeed, as Joe Killian reported in this space earlier this week, Robinson will help headline an event for another group that promotes hate toward disfavored people — in this case, LGBTQ Americans — at a Raleigh event next month.
Click here to read the entire Jewish Insider story.