RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson (R) declared a week of solidarity with Israel Thursday morning as conflict in the country continues.
“We honor and mourn the victims of the terrorist attacks by Hamas and their allies against Israel.” Lt. Gov. Robinson said in a press conference this morning, “The United States must stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel and its people in the face of this unprovoked and unjustified terrorist invasion.”
See Robinson’s full announcement in the video below.
Though Robinson declared his solidarity with Israel, many people questioned his motives with this announcement. His solidarity comes as North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (D) is out of the country in Japan on business.
Robinson also received a series of questions about former Facebook posts dating back years where he made anti-Semitic comments and downplayed Nazism.
“There is no antisemitism standing here in front of you. And, I can definitely say that the state of North Carolina, the majority of North Carolinians feel the same.” Lt. Gov. Robinson responded.
While Governor Cooper is in Japan on business, a spokesperson from his office provided the following statement:
“It’s tragically ironic that someone with a long history of hate speech against Jewish people would take advantage of death and destruction in Israel for his own political purposes. Governor Cooper believes that Israel needs both our prayers and our support.
Governor Cooper stands steadfast in supporting Israel and their right to self-defense and has taken action to protect houses of worship and other religious organizations here that could be targets. He has also been in communication with the Israeli government to reaffirm our partnership.”
Also chiming in after Robinson’s specially called press conference was State Treasurer and Republican Dale Folwell. Here’s what he had to say:
“While I strongly condemn the cowardly attack and unprecedented brutality inflicted on the Israeli nation by a terrorist state, and stand in full support of Israel to take actions necessary to defend themselves against an unprovoked attack that has shocked the world, I could not, in good conscience, accept your invitation as a member of the Council of State to stand with you at your press conference this morning.
You have regrettably seized the opportunity to engage in a stunt with dubious authority as acting governor during a brief interlude while Gov. Cooper is overseas conducting state business. How can you pretend to be governor when the record is clear that you haven’t done your job as lieutenant governor? As a person who has shamefully denied the Holocaust and whose history is checkered with hateful anti-Semitic comments you have no right to be commenting on this topic.
You were against the Jewish people before you were for them. As the poet Maya Angelou famously said, when someone shows you who they are the first time believe them. I am saddened but not shocked that you are playing political games for personal benefits.”
A spokesperson for Attorney General of North Carolina, Josh Stein (D), also brought up Robinson’s former use of “hogwash” to describe the holocaust.
In full, Stein’s spokesperson Kate Frauenfelder said, “Mark Robinson called the Holocaust ‘hogwash’ and now uses the slaughter of Israelis and Americans to perform a transparent political stunt — this is as close as he should ever get to being governor.”
Lt. Gov. Robinson, State Treasurer Folwell and NC Attorney General Stein are all running for governor in 2024.