Menu Close

Trump to Visit Blue Virginia — But Advisers Say He’s Eyeing North Carolina

Trump NC

RICHMOND — President Trump, who lavished time and money on Virginians as he sought the White House four years ago, will make his first 2020 campaign appearance in the state Friday night — largely to court North Carolinians.

Trump’s rally in Newport News is intended to reach voters in the swing state next door, according to a Trump campaign official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss strategy.

The rally — first reported by Politico — will take place at 9 p.m. in a part of Virginia that shares a media market with North Carolina’s northernmost corner.

But John Fredericks, a conservative Virginia radio host who led the state’s 2020 convention delegation, said it made no logistical sense for the president to visit the traffic-choked Hampton Roads area if he’s not serious about Virginia.

“Newport News is two tunnels, a bridge and an hour from North Carolina,” he said. “He’s coming to Virginia because, as we have said, our numbers show that the race has tightened, we’re in play, we’re in striking distance. I expect him to be in Virginia several times between now and November 3rd.”

Few political analysts expect the top of the Republican ticket to fare better this time in Virginia, where a backlash to Trump’s election has helped Democrats retain the Executive Mansion, pick up three seats in Congress and flip the state House and Senate.

Until now, neither Trump nor Pence has held a rally in Virginia. Pence addressed Virginia Military Insitute cadets last month, but that was closed to the public and not an official campaign event.

Friday’s rally will take place at a hangar at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, according to Fredericks, who will emcee the event.

Under statewide restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic, Virginia limits public and private gatherings to 250 people — even those held outdoors.

Read the full report in The Washington Post.