Republicans target North Carolina with visits by Trump, Pence, Eric Trump this week

Republicans target North Carolina with visits by Trump, Pence, Eric Trump this week
President Trump ordered up a scene never before seen at the White House: an American president using the South Lawn as the official backdrop for such overtly political activity.

WASHINGTON - North Carolina, befitting its status as one of the key states in this year’s presidential election, will get another visit from President Donald Trump this week, the White House announced Sunday.

Trump, a Republican, will visit Wilmington on Wednesday to help celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of Word War II and declare the city as the first World War II Heritage City.

Vice President Mike Pence will visit Raleigh on Thursday for anti-abortion events and to accept an endorsement from a law enforcement organization. Trump campaign surrogates, including son Eric Trump, will host an event with evangelical Christians in Huntersville on Friday.

Trump is scheduled to meet with veterans, tour the Battleship North Carolina and give remarks, according to a White House official.

In 2019, Trump signed legislation to direct at least one city per year to be designated as a World War II Heritage City. President Harry Truman announced the Japanese surrender on Sept. 2, 1945, marking the end of World War II. A World War II Heritage City bill was introduced earlier in 2019 by Rep. David Rouzer and Sen. Thom Tillis, both North Carolina Republicans.

Trump and Pence visited North Carolina last week for the first day of the Republican National Convention, which was in Charlotte. The rest of the RNC was moved out of state. Trump also made a stop in Mills River.

Trump and Pence won North Carolina in 2016. The state is seen as a toss-up in the Nov. 3 election between the Republicans and Democrats Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Absentee by-mail ballots will be sent to North Carolina voters who have requested them beginning on Friday. More than 460,000 requests for absentee by-mail ballots have been made so far.

Biden has largely avoided in-person campaigning due to the coronavirus pandemic. Biden will deliver a speech in Pennsylvania on Monday.

“As Joe Biden hides in his basement and floats another economic shutdown, President Trump is on the ground for the 12th time in North Carolina showing leadership and commitment to the Tar Heel State,” said Gates McGavick, the Trump campaign’s North Carolina press secretary. “The contrast couldn’t be clearer. North Carolinians understand that President Trump is committed to delivering results.”

Democrats said Trump’s inattention to the coronavirus pandemic and holding in-person events is not what is needed.

“Wilmington residents aren’t looking for a photo-op from Donald Trump when more than 2,700 people in our state have died from the coronavirus and our case total approaches 166,000. No matter how many times he tries to spin that devastating reality, our state is still paying the price for his incompetence,” said Austin Cook, communications director for North Carolina Democratic Party.

“This administration’s failure to contain the pandemic can’t be erased or ignored -- and with absentee ballots just days away from being distributed, North Carolina voters will hold Trump accountable.”