Speaking at a Donald Trump rally Tuesday night in Greenville, Republican attorney general candidate Buck Newton got some audience feedback on his critique of current attorney general Roy Cooper: “Lock him up,” someone shouted.
“Lock him up – I like that idea,” Newton said of the Democratic candidate for governor whose position the state senator from Wilson hopes to fill. “He doesn’t want to do his job. I’m willing to do his job.”
Newton is among many Republicans who argue that Cooper hasn’t done his job because he has declined to defend some controversial GOP-sponsored laws on appeal. Cooper’s opponent, Gov. Pat McCrory, recently said that his “refusal to do his job is costing taxpayers money ” in a case involving the state's voter ID law – a statement that PolitiFact North Carolina has ruled mostly false.
The “lock him up” comment is similar to the “lock her up” chant that has become popular at Trump rallies and refers to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
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Asked to clarify his remarks at the Trump rally, Newton backed down from his suggestion that Cooper be thrown in jail.
“I’m not planning to prosecute Roy Cooper for his rap sheet of failures, including chronic backlogs at the crime lab which kept innocent people behind bars and made it harder for law enforcement to do their jobs, but the voters sure will,” Newton said in an emailed statement.