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Trump hits campaign trail on days off from trial

Messenger Desk

Published: 13:13, 20 April 2024

Trump hits campaign trail on days off from trial

Photo: Collected 

Donald Trump on Saturday(20 April),  will hold his first campaign rally since his criminal trial in New York began, with the North Carolina crowd likely to hear the ex-president reiterate fiery outrage at the unprecedented legal proceedings.

The Republican billionaire is set to address supporters in the coastal city of Wilmington, seeking to stymie Democratic hopes of flipping the battleground state after his victories there in 2016 and 2020.

However, going to North Carolina won't be the only thing on Trump's mind, as opening statements in his hush money trial are expected to begin less than 48 hours later in New York following the finalization of jury selection on Friday.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of business fraud as part of a plan to cover up payments to a porn star so that the story of an alleged sexual encounter would not come out just before the 2016 presidential election, in which he beat Hillary Clinton.

Denouncing an alleged political "witch hunt," Trump has repeatedly complained the trial -- the first of a former US president -- has impeded his ability to campaign.

"I'm supposed to be in a lot of different places campaigning... And I'm sitting here for days now, from morning 'til night in that freezing room," he said Thursday of the Manhattan courtroom.

Trump has nonetheless continued to get his messages out to the public, both on social media and in daily remarks to the hordes of press covering his New York trial.

"THIS IS ELECTION INTERFERENCE AT A LEVEL NEVER SEEN BEFORE IN THE UNITED STATES," he claimed Friday on his Truth Social platform.

While his address in North Carolina is likely to follow a similar critical line, Trump has been ordered by Judge Juan Marchan not to attack witnesses, prosecutors and relatives of court staff -- a limitation the Republican has blasted as "very unfair."

- Battleground North Carolina -

Though the last Democratic presidential candidate to win North Carolina was Barack Obama, in 2008, the party thinks the state could be competitive in November.

Joe Biden lost the state to Trump by only 75,000 votes in 2020, the same year North Carolina's Democratic governor won reelection.

The party hopes it can capitalize on a growing urban population and anger over abortion restrictions put in place after the US Supreme Court revoked the nationwide right to the procedure.

With Trump set to be on trial possibly for weeks in New York -- and facing more pending charges in Washington, Georgia and Florida -- Biden has begun ramping up his own campaign appearances.

This week he made several trips to the critical swing state of Pennsylvania and even made his first remarks acknowledging Trump's legal woes -- something he had long refrained from doing.

"Under my predecessor -- who's busy right now -- Pennsylvania lost 275,000 jobs," the 81-year-old Biden quipped at one event.

The White House has stated that Biden is not following Trump's trial, adding his "focus is on the American people."

Biden's polling numbers, meanwhile, have steadily improved since his State of the Union address in March, with national averages placing him and 77-year-old Trump neck-and-neck.

Vice President Kamala Harris has visited North Carolina four times already this year, once in March for a joint appearance with Biden.

Messenger/Faria

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