Trump Rally in North Carolina Called Off Due to Thunderstorm

The event was meant to be Trump’s first rally after the first week of his criminal trial in New York City.

A Trump campaign rally set for Wilmington, North Carolina, on April 20 was postponed due to severe thunderstorms.

A crowd of several hundred had gathered outdoors at the Wilmington International Airport for the 7 p.m. event.

Lightning streaks were visible in the distance as high winds drove the storm toward the event site, framing the bleachers, podium, and “Make America Great Again” sign in thick, dark clouds.

Just after 6:30 p.m., former President Donald Trump, who had intended to fly to the rally from Charlotte, North Carolina, addressed the crowd via telephone.

“We want to make sure that everybody is safe, above all,” President Trump said. “And so they’ve asked us to ask people to leave the site and seek shelter.”

President Trump added that the rally would be rescheduled soon at the same site. “I just want to thank you. I’m so sorry,” he said. “God be with you.”

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The called-out rally, intended to bolster support in a state President Trump carried by a narrow margin in 2020, highlights the difficulty of conducting a presidential campaign while standing trial in the first of four criminal prosecutions.

Battle for North Carolina

President Trump carried North Carolina in the previous two elections, but his margin of victory decreased significantly in 2020. In 2016, he won by 3.6 percentage points. Four years later, the margin was just 1.4 percent.

Wilmington, with a metropolitan population of nearly 470,000, is one of the state’s most densely populated areas. President Joe Biden carried the city and surrounding county by 2.1 percent in 2020.

“The Wilmington market and southeastern North Carolina are important to winning statewide,” Matt Mercer of the North Carolina Republican Party told The Epoch Times.

The city is the hometown of Lara Trump, the former president’s daughter-in-law and co-chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC). RNC Chair Michael Whately is also a North Carolina native.

Cook Political Report, an independent, nonpartisan newsletter that analyzes political races, lists the state as “Lean Republican,” meaning the GOP has a slight advantage, but the race is still competitive.

Weekend Warrior

The five days preceding this rally graphically illustrate President Trump’s predicament in trying to carry on a presidential campaign on weekends after spending the week in court.

While President Trump sat in a Manhattan courtroom, on April 16 President Joe Biden visited his childhood home in the working-class city of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Escorted by a group of school-age children, he chatted with neighbors along a tree-lined street, a flag fluttering in the breeze.

The president amplified those contrasting images in remarks at the Scranton Cultural Center, referring to the current election as a choice between “Scranton values or Mar-a-Lago values.”

President Biden spent three days campaigning in the Keystone State, a critical battleground in presidential elections.

Counterclaims of Election Interference

President Trump has repeatedly said this prosecution is a politically motivated attempt to alter the result of the 2024 presidential election, a charge he repeated on emerging from the courthouse in Manhattan after the first day of the trial.

“That I can’t go to my son’s graduation or that I can’t go to the United States Supreme Court, that I’m not in Georgia, or Florida, or North Carolina campaigning like I should be, it’s perfect for the radical left Democrats. It’s exactly what they want. This is about election interference,” President Trump told reporters on April 15.

President Trump stands accused on 34 felony counts that he “repeatedly and fraudulently falsified New York business records to conceal criminal conduct that hid damaging information from the voting public during the 2016 presidential election,” according to court documents.
President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event at the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple in Scranton, Pa., on April 16, 2024. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP)
President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event at the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple in Scranton, Pa., on April 16, 2024. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP)

An Ipsos/Reuters poll released in April indicates that more people—48 percent—are inclined to believe the Trump prosecutions are “excessive and politically motivated” than those who do not, 41 percent.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) called the allegations part of a “lawfare” campaign against President Trump waged by President Biden’s allies.

“From trying to remove him from the ballot to putting him on trial, the American people see these politically motivated accusations for what they are: Democrats attempting to fix an election they would otherwise lose at the ballot box,” Mr. Johnson wrote on social media on April 15.

By week’s end, all 12 jurors and six alternates had been selected. Opening arguments will begin on April 22.

This trial is expected to last six to eight weeks, according to a media advisory from the New York State Unified Court System.

A federal criminal trial for President Trump is scheduled to start in Miami on May 20. That includes 40 felony counts related to President Trump’s alleged illegal retention of classified documents after leaving the White House.

The former president also faces federal criminal charges in Washington related to the events of Jan. 6 and state charges in Georgia alleging his involvement in a scheme to overturn the result of the 2020 election. No trial date has been set for either case.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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