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Facing Criticism, Robinson Tries To Backpedal On His Well Documented Positions On Abortion, Education

Source: Editorial Board

Mark Robinson has enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame since his defiant defense of gun rights at a Greensboro City Council meeting went viral in 2018. In two years, Robinson went from an armchair observer to Lieutenant Governor, and since then, Robinson’s star has only shone brighter among right-wing circles. 

Through it all, Robinson has not shied away from using inflammatory language to espouse his deeply held and extreme views on areas such as abortion rights and education policy. Earlier this year, Robinson went on a radio talk show and said he supported a total abortion ban with no exceptions. 

“Say I was the governor and had a willing legislature, we could pass a bill right now that says you can’t get an abortion in North Carolina for any reason,” Robinson said on the program

Robinson’s declaration was in line with previous statements he’s made on the topic. He has likened abortion to “murder,” called a woman who had an abortion a “heffer,” and blamed mass shootings in America not on guns, but “karma” from abortions. 

Aside from abortion, Robinson has said education is his main focus and passion. In his memoir, which he released in 2022, Robinson wrote he would work to keep history and science out of elementary school curriculum. “In those grades, we don’t need to be teaching social studies. We don’t need to be teaching science,” Robinson wrote. 

And as Lieutenant Governor, Robinson has consistently sought to undermine public schools and educators. He used state resources to harass educators about so-called “indoctrination” in schools and led efforts to censor educators from teaching the truth about our nation’s history.

But now that he is on the campaign trail, pitching his case to be governor, Robinson appears to be backpedaling on these views in a blatant attempt to widen his appeal beyond his conservative base.

When asked by a woman at a Charlotte event about his comment on the radio program in support of a total abortion ban, Robinson first claimed he did not recall making the comments. He then claimed he had another realization. “I realized something — that I should not be that person standing up on that stage saying, ‘You can’t have an abortion.’ That is not who I’m going to be. Jesus Christ wouldn’t want me to be that person,” he said.

While some people certainly have a change of heart on the subject, Robinson’s new comment on abortion comes out of the blue from his many, incendiary past statements. And notably, Robinson was not pushed on how his new realization would impact his policy priorities as governor. Legislative Republicans for their part have made it clear that the 12-week ban they implemented this year is just the beginning of the restrictions they have planned. 

What’s more, at the same event in Charlotte, Robinson flat-out lied about the statements in his memoir. “Now I’ve been accused of saying … I want to get rid of science, history in elementary school. That’s not true. Science and history certainly should be part of elementary school,” Robinson said. Robinson did not take questions from reporters after his remarks, so there was no push back to this new response either. 

At the same time Robinson is trying to hide from some of his past statements, he is also doubling down on others. At the Charlotte event, Robinson continued to target the LGBTQ community, including condemning the LGBTQ Pride flag. “The rainbow is a symbol of God’s covenant with man, and as a Christian, I refuse to see it besmirched,” Robinson said.

Public polling shows Robinson currently dominating the Republican primary, but at least one of his Republican opponents is starting to directly attack him for his past statements and actions. Former congressman Mark Walker has recently criticized Robinson for his antisemitic remarks and his past financial troubles

Moreover, Walker has laid out Robinson’s challenge in the general election clearly. “Only 30% of the state’s registered voters are Republicans. You better have somebody…that can build bridges to unaffiliated voters, and to new communities…as opposed to just somebody up there throwing bombs, going after this minority group, or going after this community,” Walker said after he announced his run for governor. 

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