With polls showing Donald Trump trailing Joe Biden in North Carolina, Vice President Mike Pence made two stops in the state and another in South Carolina on Tuesday afternoon asking voters to “fight” for the president.
A few hours later, the Trump campaign announced that Trump will visit the state this week as well. He’ll be in Fayetteville Thursday for a rally at Fayetteville Regional Airport at 6:30 p.m.
Pence flew to three campaign stops in North Carolina and South Carolina on Tuesday afternoon, beginning at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro. His speeches came with one week to go before Election Day.
“I’m here for one reason and one reason only,” Pence told his supporters gathered in Greensboro. “North Carolina and America need to vote for four more years of Donald Trump in the White House.”
His visits come after five of his aides, including his chief of staff, tested positive for coronavirus. Pence tested negative for the deadly virus, which President Donald Trump contracted and recovered from earlier this month.
The speeches in Greensboro, Wilmington and Greenville, S.C., were all held at airports with no plans for face-to-face contact with supporters.
Few people in the Greensboro crowd wore face coverings despite announcements to both wear one and that spares were available.
The Biden campaign called out Pence for risking North Carolinian’s health in a news release published hours before Pence’s visit.
“Vice President Pence and the Trump Administration have made their blatant disregard for the safety of North Carolinians abundantly clear,” said Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s communication director. “This trip won’t distract voters from the Trump Administration’s egregious mishandling of the pandemic, which has sent North Carolina’s economy into a tailspin and cost over 4,100 lives in the state.”
But N.C. Republican Party Chairman Michael Whatley said they’re not stopping.
“They’re going to keep coming because North Carolina matters to this president,” Whatley said in Greensboro.
Trump’s youngest daughter Tiffany Trump spent her morning in Charlotte hosting “Breakfast with Tiffany” on her father’s behalf. Pence and Tiffany Trump’s visits mark the seventh by the campaign in the past seven days.
Trump and Pence won North Carolina in 2016 with 49.% of the vote, compared to 46.2% for Hillary Clinton. But the latest Meredith Poll released Friday showed Biden ahead 48.1% to 44%, forcing the Trump campaign to pay close attention to the state.
Trump Victory campaign spokesman Gates McGavick said Pence’s visits were a perfect way to kick off the last seven days of the election.
“North Carolinians understand that President Trump and his administration are making their case directly to voters here as Democrats throw in the towel,” McGavick said.
As of 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, nearly 2.7 million people had voted at early voting sites and more than 811,000 people had cast mail-in ballots in North Carolina.
Pence spoke to North Carolinians about what he said sets the Trump/Pence campaign apart from their opponents.
That included what the Trump administration inherited from former President Barack Obama and Biden after their administration ended in 2017.
“We inherited a military that was hollowed out by years of devastating budget cuts, an economy that was struggling to break out of the slowest recovery since the Great Depression and terrorism on the rise around the world,” Pence said. “We witnessed a steady assault on our most cherished values. But in three short years I’m proud to report we rebuilt our military, we revived our economy, we secured our borders, supported law enforcement and stood for life, liberty and the Constitution of the United States.”
Pence called for the election of Republican candidate Dan Forest for governor, as well as reelection of U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis and Congressmen Ted Budd and Mark Walker. Walker is not running for reelection but is rumored to be looking at another run in 2022.
He said there is a fight in the country for a “new Republican majority.”
Pence said when Trump asked him to add his name to the Republican ticket in 2016 that he didn’t know Trump very well.
But he said he now talks to Trump daily, spends time at the White House and has seen Trump with cameras off.
“There has never been a day gone by, that I didn’t see this president get up and turn his face like flint against the wind and fight to keep the promises that he made to the people of North Carolina,” Pence said. “Now its time for us to fight for Trump.”