President visits eastern North Carolina, stumps for Congressional candidates

Published 7:53 pm Thursday, July 18, 2019

GREENVILLE — President Donald Trump received a warm welcome from eastern North Carolina supporters at East Carolina University’s Minges Coliseum on Wednesday night as he hosted a Keep America Great rally.

Much of the president’s speech focused on securing a second term in the White House and Republican victories in 2020, all the while delivering scathing criticisms of Democratic rivals. While the rally was similar in content to those that have come before, the event in Greenville put the focus on eastern North Carolina in a number of ways.

Aside from presidential and national politics, the President took the opportunity to stump for two candidates in special Congressional elections currently underway in ENC. Here in the third Congressional District, Trump spoke on behalf of N.C. Representative Greg Murphy, as well as N.C. Senator Dan Bishop, who is running in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District.

“Greg will be great on jobs, all the things you want,” Trump told the crowd. “Tough on crime, strong on borders, pushing the wall.”

Among the speakers leading up to the president’s speech, Wilmington native Lara Trump, Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law, spoke of her ties to North Carolina, which she says she helped secure votes in 2016.

“In 2016, I came down to a rally in North Carolina with my father-in-law and before I knew what had happened, he had put me in charge of winning our state,” Lara Trump said. “I can thank all of you in this room, because we won the state of North Carolina by 3.6 percent in 2016.”

Murphy also had time at the microphone, endorsing Trump’s accomplishments while in office. Last week, Murphy won the Republican nomination in a special election for the vacant U.S. 3rd Congressional District seat. He will face Democrat Allen Thomas, Libertarian Tim Harris and Constitution Party Candidate Greg Holt in September.

Murphy lauded Trump’s handling of the economy, his endorsements for conservative candidates and support of the U.S. military.

“It would be my greatest honor to serve as your congressman,” Murphy said. “I do so only with the intention of serving our president and serving his ‘America First’ agenda. We must build a wall, we must protect our borders, and we must put ‘We the people’ first.”

Among the crowd, a number of state Republicans were in attendance, including Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, N.C. Treasurer Dale Folwell, U.S. Senator Tom Tillis, U.S. Representatives Mark Walker, Richard Hudson and Mark Meadows, Greenville Mayor P.J. Connelly, multiple state representatives and senators and Rep. Keith Kidwell, who represents Beaufort County in the state House.

“North Carolina has had the best economic year in the history of your state,” Trump told the crowd. “Our country has added more than 180,000 people to the work force. Think of that. From what we’ve done on a federal basis, you’ve picked up over 180,000 jobs, North Carolina. You have your lowest unemployment rate. You have a lot of good things, but let’s not talk too much about North Carolina. Let’s win this election nationwide.”

Statewide, the number of North Carolinians in the labor force has been on an upward trajectory since late 2009, with unemployment subsequently decreasing at a similar rate, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics. The high for statewide employment in 2010 was 11.4% and was down to 4.1% in May.