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Donald Trump compares NC's Mark Robinson to MLK Jr. at Mar-a-Lago fundraiser

Donald Trump welcomes Mark Robinson on stage Saturday to a crowd of hundreds at The Farm at 95 in Selma, North Carolina.
Kate Medley
for WUNC
FILE — Donald Trump welcomes Mark Robinson on stage Saturday to a crowd of hundreds at The Farm at 95 in Selma, North Carolina, in 2022.

Former President Donald Trump held a fundraiser Tuesday night for North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson's campaign for governor.

The event was held at Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida with tickets that started at $1,000. A handful of GOP congressional and statewide candidates were in attendance, including 6th District candidate Bo Hines (who Trump had endorsed in 2022), labor commissioner candidate Luke Farley and lieutenant governor candidates Hal Weatherman and Seth Woodall.

In a speech praising Robinson, Trump referred to him as North Carolina's next governor and compared his speaking style to the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

"First it was the voice — I said, 'that voice is good,'" Trump said Tuesday, according to video of the event posted to Facebook. "And then I said, 'you know what, I swear, I think you're better than Dr. Martin Luther King.' And I wasn't sure if he was happy about that, because Dr. Martin Luther King was great. And I think he didn't like that comparison, but he accepted it."

Robinson has a history of comments about the Black community and civil rights issues.

In a 2017 Facebook post, Robinson wrote "someone asked me if I considered myself part of the ‘African-American’ community. I told them NO! They asked me why and I said; ‘Why would I want to be part of a ‘community’ that devalues it’s fathers, overburdens it’s mothers, and murders its children by the millions? Why would I want to be part of a ‘community’ that sucks from the putrid tit of the government and then complains about getting sour milk?”

During a podcast appearance in 2018, Robinson called the Civil Rights Movement a "communist plot to subvert capitalism.”

The WUNC Politics Podcast is a free-flowing discussion of what we're hearing in the back hallways of the General Assembly and on the campaign trail across North Carolina.

“So many things were lost during the Civil Rights Movement," Robinson said. "So many freedoms were lost during the Civil Rights Movement. They shouldn’t have been lost."

Trump said it's rare for him to host fundraisers for state candidates.

"I don't do this at Mar-a-Lago very often," Trump said. "I do it for a few people. I do it for friends. I do it for people that I feel strongly about. I think he's going to go down as one of the great leaders in our country."

Robinson has also endorsed Trump for president next year. At an event in June, Robinson said that the United States "is at war, and we need a warrior at the helm." At Tuesday's Florida fundraiser, Robinson introduced Trump as "the greatest president in United States history."

Trump's support for Robinson comes days after U.S. Senator Thom Tillis endorsed his Republican opponent, Salisbury attorney Bill Graham. Tillis argued that Robinson doesn't have the experience needed to serve as governor.

Robinson also faces State Treasurer Dale Folwell and former state Sen. Andy Wells in the GOP primary. Attorney General Josh Stein, former Supreme Court Justice Mike Morgan and two others are seeking the Democratic nomination for governor.

Colin Campbell covers politics for WUNC as the station's capitol bureau chief.
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