The Ugliest of the Ugly some have called them, and they’re not talking about appearances, either. Behavior is what’s at stake here. It’s not hard to pinpoint when civility went flying out the window in government, but that’s not what we’re here to rehash. 

In this article, we’re here to look at the relatively recent bad behavior of two elected officials in the state of North Carolina. One continues to serve. The other recently lost an attempt at reelection, but will continue his term through the end of the year. Both are Republicans, conservatives, and never seem to know when to stop talking.

Who’s a homophobe? Who lies? Who tries to force their beliefs on others? Who cheats to try and get ahead? Who’s a closet case? Who might be having an affair with their cousin? Who supported the “big lie?”

More importantly, who has done the best worst job negatively impacting North Carolina? We’ll let you decide.

Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson

North Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson clearly stole a few pages from the Trump play book when he captured the office of Lieutenant Governor. With no previous political experience and a talent for mouthing off endlessly, he defends his statements as religious freedom and is oblivious about connecting with or representing anyone he doesn’t agree with.

He captured national attention when he fired off a series of statements during a speaking engagement at Asbury Baptist Church in Seagrove, N.C. in June of 2021 about school systems around the state and books he felt should be removed from libraries that made them accessible to school age kids. 

Screen Shot / David Aaron Moore

“There’s no reason anybody, anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth,” Robinson blathered.” And yes I called it filth. And if you don’t like that I called it filth, come see me and I’ll explain it to you.”

The books Robinson was referring to included “George,” about a transgender girl in fourth grade; “Gender Queer,” the story of a young individual’s growing awareness of their own gender identity; and “Lawn Boy,” a book about a young Mexican-American male going through a phase of self-discovery.

Never one to miss the opportunity to ride a train the full length of the rail, Robinson continued his diatribe against books and schools later in the year with a September Facebook post on the topic after response to his earlier statements didn’t do over so well. “I will not be silent. And I will not be bullied into submission. I will continue to fight for the rights of our children, free from sexual concepts that do not belong in the classroom. And I don’t care who doesn’t like it.” 

After taking aim at books that have anything to do with LGBTQ issues, it seemed only logical his next step would be attacking the community itself. Par for the course with conservatives and Republicans these days, first in his line of fire was the trans community. During a rally in Greenville, N.C., he offered up this gem: “I want to be that person at the track meet that stands up and says … ‘Them two fellas that won this track meet, they’re not girls. Why are they out there?’” he said. “That’s two boys. I don’t care what you call them. They’re painted-up, striped-up jackasses. They’re not women.”

But he couldn’t drop it there.

“Here’s something else I’m not supposed to say. Ain’t but two genders. Two genders. Ain’t nothing but men and women. You can go to the doctor and get cut up. You can go down to the dress shop and get made up. You can go down there and get drugged up. But at the end of the day you just a drugged up, dressed up, made up, cut up man or woman. You ain’t changed what God put in you, that DNA. You can’t transcend God’s creation. I don’t care how hard you try. The transgender movement in this country…is demonic, and full of the spirit of [the] antichrist.”

Then it was time to fire off at gays and lesbians who had dared to voice their disapproval of Robinson’s hateful rhetoric.

“It’s not about being against anybody because of their sexual preference. This is an effort again to intimidate voices on the right into silence … it’s just another effort to try and intimidate me … from speaking out on this issue. It doesn’t matter to me what the definition of hate speech is. I said what I said, and I believe what I said, and many people across the state feel the exact same way.”

During a speaking engagement at Berean Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, Robinson told the story of a gay man who questioned him about his thoughts on hetero superiority. “So you think your wife and you, you think your heterosexual relationship is superior to my husband and my homosexual relationship?” The man asked. “Yes!” Robinson responded. “These people are superior because they can do something these people can’t do. Because that’s the way God created it to be. And I’m tired of this society trying to tell me it’s not so.”

Additional comments he made during the same appearance were equally incendiary. “Everything that God made serves a purpose. Will somebody please explain to me the purpose of homosexuality? … What does it create? It creates nothing.” 

Go for one, go for all, is apparently Robinson’s motto. Just weeks ago he took aim at women in the state, offering further misguided insight. 

“We are called to be led by men,” he said, during another church appearance he insists is not campaigning. “God sent women out … when they had to do their thing, but when it was time to face down Goliath, [He] sent David. Not Davita, David. When it was time to lead the Israelites out of Egypt he sent Moses. Not Momma Moses, Daddy Moses.”

When it comes down to the bare bones of what Robinson hopes to eventually achieve, nowhere is theocracy more apparent than in the following statement.

“As for this not being a Christian nation, yes, it is. If you don’t like it, I’ll buy your plane, train or automobile ticket right up out of here. You can go to some place that is not a Christian nation.”

This editorial cartoon from NC Policy Watch captures the way many in North Carolina regard the state’s lieutenant governor. John Cole/NC Policy Watch

Representative Madison Cawthorn

Although “Mad” Madison Cawthorn recently lost in the Republican primary for his 11th congressional district seat in the US house, he will remain in office until 2023.

That’s plenty of time for him to use his pulpit to do additional damage or open his mouth and let any number of stupid comments slide out.

Once upon a time, Cawthorn was the darling of the Republican Party, when he first took office in 2021, filling the seat of outgoing Republican congressman Mark Meadows. From the get-go, he’s been a staunch Trump supporter and a later co-hort in the former White House resident’s attempt to overturn the election of President Joe Biden.

Cawthorn is wheelchair bound, and that has often been a topic of debate. Although it has frequently been assumed his physical challenge is the result of military action (a point he has never claimed, but on occasion failed to correct), the Asheville native was actually injured in a car accident while returning from a trip to Florida. He lost the use of his legs when the SUV he was traveling in (as a passenger) crashed into a concrete barrier with his feet on the dashboard.

Screen Shot / David Aaron Moore

While Cawthorn’s comments have been distinctly less anti-LGBTQ than those made by Robinson, he has made it abundantly clear he identifies as a constitutional conservative and a Christian.

Cawthorn’s career started a downhill spiral when he appeared with Donald Trump at the Jan. 6, 2020 “Stop The Steal” rally ahead of the US Capitol insurrection on that same day. Since questioned, he has made it clear he has no regrets about his involvement.

Prior to the siege, Cawthorn took to the stage to urge Trump supporters on.

“My friends, do we love Donald Trump? I encourage you continue to make your voice heard. My friends, we’re not doing this just for Donald Trump. We are doing this for the Constitution. Our Constitution was violated. My friends, I encourage you to go back to your States after today. Hold your representatives accountable. Make sure that they stood up for election integrity and make your voices heard. My friends, I want you to chant with me so loud that the cowards in Washington that I serve with can hear you.”

Apparently Cawthorn was a bit more overly confident regarding the number of friends he thought he had, who would diminish quickly over the coming months and years.

In a podcast this past March, Cawthorn oddly set his sights on more established Republicans when he indicated he had been invited to a “cocaine sex orgy” by older members of the Republican Party. It’s not clear what he thought his statement would achieve, but it didn’t win him any friends.

“I mean, being kind of a young guy in Washington, where the average age is probably 60 or 70, I look at all these people, a lot of them … I’ve always looked up to through my life. Then all of [a] sudden you get invited to like, ‘Oh hey we’re going to have a kind of sexual get together at one of our houses, you should come.’”

That one comment was, by and large, the misplaced Lego that ended the political game for Cawthorn.

Following his loss during the primary it was not the slightest bit surprising he attempted to deflect the blame for his failure at everyone else, taking no responsibility whatsoever.

“This was a coordinated strike carried out by what I think is the oldest wing of our party, Cawthorn said during his concession speech, pointing a finger at senior Republican officials. “You know I think it’s a loser’s mentality, they realize the direction the election is going in, the direction the population is going in and … They pay off people from my past for old pictures and things that happened years and years ago. I feel free to let them do that because I think the American people can see through that.”

Those that had previously supported Cawthorn did apparently see through him, enough so that he lost the primary.

Despite other controversies that revealed videos of him in what he dismissed as “horse play” with other men and a still shot of him wearing women’s lingerie, he maintained Trump’s support throughout his term and his loss. 

It remains a possibility that despite his gaffes, his young age may allow a return to the political arena in the future.

David Aaron Moore is a former editor of Qnotes, serving in the role from 2003 to 2007. He is currently the senior content editor and a regularly contributing writer for Qnotes. Moore is a native of North...