It should come as no surprise that North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson ignored loud criticism and more than one petition when he made his decision to attend the NRA convention in Texas just days after 19 children and two adults were slaughtered inside a classroom less than 300 miles away in Uvalde.
After all, Robinson is a man who said in May – at a church, and just one day after a racist shooting in Buffalo, New York, left 10 dead – that he has AR-15s in case he needs to shoot fellow government officials. An 18-year-old in Uvalde legally purchased two of the same style weapons that Robinson has professed his love for and used them to kill 21 innocent people and injure another 17 inside Robb Elementary School less than two weeks later.
Robinson spoke at the NRA convention in Houston on May 27. The mass murder in Texas happened just three days earlier.
According to WRAL, Robinson said he attended the convention “because he wanted to defend the Second Amendment rights of North Carolinians.”
“In this nation, you are not the second responder, you are the first responder,” he told attendees. “And you have an absolute duty and a right to stand up and protect your home from any enemy foreign or domestic.
“I am here today, much to the chagrin of many of the leftists back home in my state who thought I should cower and stay home, and not come here and continue to defend that right for those law-abiding citizens back home in North Carolina and for the law-abiding citizens of this nation,” Robinson said.
Robinson took the stage in Houston as part of a lineup of far-right extremist Republicans like ex-President Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was also expected to speak but he had enough sense to listen to everyone who told him not to attend. Abbott did send a video message, though. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick canceled his Friday breakfast event appearance, according to Texas media outlets.
Robinson knows which side his bread is buttered on and he also knows how he made it to the position of the lieutenant governor – the NRA and yelling about gun rights.
WRAL reported that “The NRA Political Victory Fund spent more than $82,000 on mailers and other efforts to get Robinson elected in 2020, according to state campaign finance records. The group also donated $5,400 directly to Robinson’s campaign.”
Robinson has a speech at a Greensboro City Council meeting in 2018 to thank for his rise to prominence. The speech was made several weeks after the Parkland shooting that killed more than a dozen people at a high school in Florida and it came as Greensboro officials discussed canceling a gun show in the city.
One could argue that, without that speech, North Carolina would be better off because he would still just be a man who likes to rail against gun control on Facebook instead of being one step away from being governor of North Carolina.
Robinson knows just how much Republicans love his “straight-talking, liberal-hating, America-loving, man-of-God” schtick. One would hope that as an elected official maybe he would be a little more professional, but that’s not the case.
During his convention speech, Robinson mocked Democrats as communists and Marxists, accusing them of using the Texas school massacre for their own political gain and as a way to eventually outlaw all guns.
“You are bound and determined to leave our children defenseless,” he said. “And now you are bound and determined to leave the law-abiding patriotic citizens of this nation unarmed and defenseless.”
He also accused “leftist politicians” in Washington of not doing enough to keep schools safe.
“You have defunded the police, derided the police, and you have left our schools as soft targets,” he said. “You will not tap dance on the graves of these children to disarm the people of this nation.”
North Carolina Democrats called on Robinson to skip the convention and also said that 760 parents had signed a letter asking him not to attend.
“We demand to know—how many children do you need to see gunned down, communities torn apart, and lives upended before you’ll finally decide to put lives ahead of the gun lobby and actually do something to stop this senseless violence?” the letter said, WRAL reported.
“Your thoughts and prayers are not enough,” it said. “Unless proven otherwise, your attendance at the NRA convention in Texas this week makes it clear: you, and the North Carolina Republican Party, are beholden to the NRA instead of protecting North Carolina children.”
Neither Robinson nor his office responded to WRAL’s request for comment regarding the petition.
The lieutenant governor did release a statement before he left to speak to the NRA saying that the Uvalde shooting was “evil—pure and simple.”
Robinson also offered up the standard Republican response to mass slaughters – thoughts and prayers.
“When I heard about it, I shed tears. I did,” he said at the NRA convention. “I can’t help but think, ‘What if it was one of mine?’ How heartbroken I would be? The pain that would be in my household today. … I paused, took a breath. I said a prayer because that’s what we need right now. That’s what those families need.”
Despite there being no evidence of a thought or a prayer ever stopping a mass shooting or truly helping the family of any victims, it was the literal least that Robinson could do as he stood on the stage and talked about his love for guns and his hatred of communists and Marxists.
Robinson is clearly not a man bothered by what anyone has to say about him and even when his own words are used against him he pretends he never said them, so odds are that this uproar will only embolden him to continue behaving like someone who is not fit to serve the people of North Carolina.