Politics & Government

Trump will be in Fayetteville on Monday. Here’s what you should know.

If you’re a consumer of television news, you likely see a lot of President Donald Trump already.

But Monday, North Carolinians have the chance to see him speak on their home soil. Trump is scheduled to speak at a rally in Fayetteville on Monday, September 9.

This isn’t Trump’s first trip to Fayetteville. He visited the Sandhills city as a candidate in 2016. At that event, a white Trump supporter punched a black protester who was being escorted out of the rally. The man later apologized in court, where he was given a 30-day jail sentence that was suspended and 12 months probation.

Monday’s rally comes under new circumstances. Here’s what you need to know.

Why is Trump here?

Trump’s visit is an effort to mobilize voters for special elections on Tuesday in North Carolina’s 3rd and 9th Congressional Districts.

Republican Greg Murphy, a state House member, is one of four candidates running for the 3rd District seat, which opened up when longtime Rep. Walter Jones died. He’ll face Democrat Allen Thomas, Libertarian Tim Harris and Constitution Party Greg Holt.

The 9th District race is considered more competitive and has received more national attention, in part because the state elections board nullified results from the November election after finding absentee ballot fraud.

There, Republican Dan Bishop hopes to defeat Democrat Dan McCready, who came within about 900 votes of winning the election that was thrown out. Libertarian Jeff Scott and Green Party candidate Allen Smith also on the ballot.

How to go

The rally is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. at the Crown Expo Center in Fayetteville, 1960 Coliseum Drive. (The event was originally scheduled to take place at Fayetteville Regional Airport, but the Trump campaign announced a location change on Sept. 6.)

Doors open to the public at 4 p.m. People can sign up for tickets, which are given on a first-come-first-served basis, on donaldjtrump.com.

People who want to watch the rally but can’t attend are invited to attend a party at the North Carolina GOP headquarters in Raleigh at 1506 Hillsborough St.

McCready will also be in Fayetteville on Monday. McCready, a Marine Corps veteran, has invited veterans to knock on doors with him as part of an effort he’s calling “Operation Get Out the Vote” in downtown Fayetteville. His volunteers are scheduled to meet at the N.C. Veterans Park and then break out into small groups to walk Hay Street, according to a campaign press release.

What to expect

Trump’s visit comes less than a week after Hurricane Dorian meandered its way up the coast, devastating the Bahamas and flooding certain parts of North Carolina. It left Ocracoke flooded and generated tornadoes that trashed an Emerald Isle RV park.

Amid the storm movement, however, Trump garnered criticism last week for repeatedly insisting that Alabama was threatened by Hurricane Dorian — a claim debunked by fact-checkers and meteorologists. The media is a frequent punching bag of Trump’s, and it’s possible he’ll mention his debated forecast while on stage Monday.

Trump will likely take verbal shots at McCready, as he did during his rally in Greenville earlier this summer.

It remains to be seen whether he’ll talk about Fayetteville or Fort Bragg, the Army base just 13 miles down the road from the rally.

Trump’s visit also comes less than a week after the Pentagon reported plans to divert about $80 million away from North Carolina’s military bases to pay for his proposed border wall. About $32.9 million of that is coming from a proposed but previously canceled elementary school at Fort Bragg. (Updated to clarify that the school project that is listed as losing funding was previously canceled.)

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Paul “Andy” Specht reports on North Carolina leaders and state politics for The News & Observer and PolitiFact. Specht previously covered Raleigh City Hall and town governments around the Triangle. He’s a Raleigh native who graduated from Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C. Contact him at aspecht@newsobserver.com or (919) 829-4870.
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