Source: Editorial Board
Just days before pleading not guilty in a federal court to 37 charges related to the mishandling of classified documents, ex-President Donald Trump pledged to endorse Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson’s campaign for North Carolina governor.
Trump made the announcement at the North Carolina Republican Party convention in Robinson’s hometown of Greensboro.
According to The Associated Press, the recently indicted ex-president said he would announce his formal endorsement of Robinson at a later date (possibly from a prison cell?), but did tell Robinson, “You can count on it, Mark.” Trump also called the anti-LGBTQ+, misogynistic, antisemitic, anti-education, anti-choice, pro-gun, Christian nationalist lieutenant governor “one of the great stars of the party, one of the great stars in politics.”
It really shouldn’t come as any surprise that Trump said he will endorse Robinson considering how similar their brand of politics is. It should also come as no surprise that Robinson didn’t publicly rebuke Trump’s announcement because of the fact that he’s facing nearly 40 felony charges for storing top secret documents on nuclear capabilities, U.S. plans for responding to military attacks, classified maps, and for enlisting assistants to hide those documents in his bathroom when investigators demanded he turn them over, because many Republicans don’t believe the charges are even legitimate despite the overwhelming evidence.
According to The Associated Press, multiple delegates at the NCGOP convention dismissed the indictment and charges as an attack by President Joe Biden’s administration meant to weaken his strongest competitor for the White House in 2024.
Trump called the indictment “a travesty of justice” and many Republican voters believe it will boost his campaign.
Not all members of the NCGOP hold that belief, though. Some have expressed concern that Robinson’s long history of attacking women, the Jewish community, members of the LGBTQ+ community, Black people and the Civil Rights Movement, and even children who survived school shootings, could end up hurting his campaign because of how closely divided North Carolina is. It also doesn’t help that Robinson has defended his comments and beliefs nearly every time he’s had the chance to explain them or apologize for making them.
Also working against Robinson is that, despite Republican supermajorities in both chambers of the legislature, North Carolina voters have a penchant for electing Democrats to lead the state as governor. Only one Republican has been elected governor since 1992 – Pat McCrory in 2012. Gov. Roy Cooper defeated McCrory in 2016 and won again in 2020. He is term-limited and cannot run again in 2024.
Trump’s (pending) endorsement could definitely shake up the competition in the Republican primary where Robinson faces State Treasurer Dale Folwell and Former Rep. Mark Walker. The winner of the primary will face Josh Stein, the state’s current attorney general, and the only prominent Democrat to announce a run for governor.
Stein’s spokesperson Kate Frauenfelder said she expects the twice-impeached former president’s endorsement of Robinson will “spur even more chaos in the already messy Republican primary.”