RALEIGH — North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who has used his pulpit to make numerous anti-LGBTQ comments, confronted a Democratic lawmaker Monday night after she gave a speech responding to Robinson’s remarks.
The Greensboro Republican “berated” state Sen. Julie Mayfield, a Democrat from Asheville, after her speech and wagged his finger in front of her face, saying he didn’t appreciate her “equating Black people with gay people,” according to Mayfield and another lawmaker who witnessed the encounter.
Robinson’s comments were in response to a speech Mayfield gave after a legislative vote Monday. In that speech, Mayfield highlighted deadly violence against Black people and discrimination against LGBTQ people.
“It is convenient fiction that we can say something in a particular forum and not expect to be held accountable for those words in another,” Mayfield said, referring to several instances in which Robinson has made anti-LGBTQ comments and made national headlines. “We are elected officials. And if we can’t respect our constituents rather than viciously attack some of them, then maybe we’re in the wrong job.”
Robinson is North Carolina’s highest ranking Black elected official and has said he will likely run for governor in 2024. He has faced fierce blowback from Democrats, including those in the White House, for his comments about LGBTQ people.
“It was a rant. He berated her, and he yelled as loudly as he could,” said Sen. Natasha Marcus, a Democrat from Davidson. “Sen. Mayfield’s remarks speak what’s in the hearts of most North Carolinians, and the fact that it set the lieutenant governor off that much is shocking to me.”
Robinson, who presides over the state Senate, approached Mayfield in the hallway outside the Senate chamber after lawmakers adjourned and “wagged” his finger in her face, Marcus said.
“He said ‘You know where I am and where to find me,’” Marcus said, paraphrasing. “’If you have something to say to me you should come and say it to my face.’”
Marcus then began recording the interaction.
Reached by phone, Robinson said he didn’t want to talk about the incident and that it made him angry.
“If you weren’t there to hear what I said to her, you’ll just have to take her word for it because anything I tell you you’re probably going to twist for your own purposes,” Robinson said.
Kyle Luebke, president of the Log Cabin Republicans of NC that represents LGBTQ people in the GOP, said Robinson’s recent rhetoric about LGBTQ people has “no place in building an inclusive Republican Party.”