Trump Says He Will Endorse Mark Robinson for North Carolina Governor

Trump Says He Will Endorse Mark Robinson for North Carolina Governor
North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas at the Hilton Anatole Aug. 6, 2022. (Bobby Sanchez for The Epoch Times)
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Former President Donald Trump on Saturday night expressed his support for Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, a move many delegates expect will cement Robinson’s place as the front-runner in a competitive GOP primary and propel him to the governor’s office.

“I’m going to endorse Mark,” Trump said at a GOP event in Greensboro, North Carolina, during one of his first appearances since the Justice Department charged him in connection with his handling of classified documents.

The former president referred to Robinson as “one of the great stars of the party, one of the great stars in politics.”

While Trump stopped short of an official endorsement, he said, “You can count on it, Mark.”

Robinson was elected to become the state’s first black lieutenant governor in 2020 in his first run for public office. In April, he formally entered North Carolina’s gubernatorial race.

“I’m running for governor because we, the people of North Carolina, need someone who understands us. We don’t need another politician,” Robinson told a capacity crowd of about 1,000 people who gathered for the event in Alamance County on April 23. “I stand before you now as the first black lieutenant governor of North Carolina. And that is a testament that anything in our state and nation is possible.”

Following his announcement, former Rep. Mark Walker also declared his candidacy in May, joining Robinson and state Treasurer Dale Folwell to chase the Republican nomination for governor.

Rep. Mark Walker at the CPAC convention in National Harbor, Md., on Feb. 26, 2020. (Brendon Fallon/The Epoch Times)
Rep. Mark Walker at the CPAC convention in National Harbor, Md., on Feb. 26, 2020. (Brendon Fallon/The Epoch Times)

Jonathan Bridges, a spokesperson for Walker’s campaign, told The Associated Press he “fully anticipated” Trump’s support for Robinson but said he might not want to follow through with a formal endorsement once he learns more about the lieutenant governor.

Meanwhile, state Attorney General Josh Stein, the only prominent Democrat who has entered the race to replace outgoing Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, also took the chance to take shots at Republicans.

“The only thing the former president’s support will do is spur even more chaos in the already messy Republican primary,” Kate Frauenfelder, spokesperson for Stein’s campaign, said in a statement.

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump gestures to the audience after delivering remarks in Greensboro, N.C., on June 10, 2023. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump gestures to the audience after delivering remarks in Greensboro, N.C., on June 10, 2023. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Trump’s appearance at the North Carolina event came two days after he was hit with 37 federal charges over his handling of government documents earlier this week.

Many Republican voters anticipate the indictment, which Trump called “ridiculous and baseless,” will boost his presidential campaign—and boost Robinson’s along with it.

“In a lot of ways he reminds me of Trump in that he doesn’t pull any punches,” Mia Brydie, a 52-year-old GOP delegate from Greensboro, told Associated Press. “I admire him because he’s a man that speaks for the people.”

Brydie, a black woman, said she thinks Robinson is the best person to represent her and other black and working-class families. Robinson released an autobiography last year that talked about a childhood of poverty and the various financial challenges he faced as an adult.

Robinson is widely predicted to secure the GOP ticket to enter next fall’s gubernatorial race. Currently, Robinson has a double-digit lead over his nearest potential GOP rival, Walker, a new Civitas/SurveyUSA poll finds. If voters were choosing today, 43 percent of likely Republican primary voters would back Robinson, according to the tracker. Just 9 percent opt for Walker though 37 percent are undecided.
Trump’s support may help Robinson gain momentum both statewide and nationally. Last November, Trump-backed Ted Budd defeated Democrat challenger Cheri Beasley in North Carolina’s Senate race.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Dorothy Li is a reporter for The Epoch Times, covering China's politics, international relationships, security, and society. Contact Dorothy at [email protected].
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