FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – President Donald Trump is preparing for his fourth visit to North Carolina in a month, holding a rally Saturday in Fayetteville.
The event comes as polling continues to show the race between Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is close in North Carolina.
Ahead of the event, White House trade advisor Peter Navarro told CBS 17 Trump will talk about North Carolina’s role in the country’s economic recovery and efforts locally to produce a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Trump campaign says people who will attend will be offered masks. At previous rallies, many people have not worn them or practiced social distancing.
“I can’t really speak to that. What I can speak to is what the message is: North Carolina is really a critical part of the economic recovery that we need,” Navarro said when asked about the president holding large in-person events amid the pandemic.
The event will begin at 6 p.m. at Fayetteville Regional Airport. Doors open at 3 p.m.
Earlier this week, state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said, “What we are asking is for folks who want to attend political events just do it safely, do it with social distancing and do it with masks.”
The Trump administration has launched Operation Warp Speed in an effort to produce a vaccine on an accelerated timeline. President Trump has suggested one could be ready in time for the election, but Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that’s “unlikely.”
Biden said this week, “I trust vaccines. I trust scientists. But, I don’t trust Donald Trump.”
Navarro said North Carolina is “an important part” of the vaccine development process and pushed back on Biden’s comments.
“To raise that kind of doubt in the American people when he has absolutely no information that would pertain to that, really if you were a lawyer, it would be malpractice,” said Navarro.
Biden’s campaign on Friday released a new television ad in North Carolina, trying to reach military communities, featuring retired Air Force Brig. Gen. John Douglas, who served as a casualty notification officer.
The ad comes in response to a report earlier this month in the Atlantic where Trump is quoted as describing fallen soldiers as “losers” and “suckers.”
Trump has denied making those comments, and several of his aides have said publicly they did not hear him say those things.
On a conference call with Democrats Friday, members of military families spoke about the impact of reading that report.
“There’s a lot of hurt here because that’s not what a commander-in-chief does,” said Toni Morris.
Margo Drakos added, “He neither understands nor respects the idea of duty, honor, country.”
In his new book, “Rage,” journalist Bob Woodward reports that Trump made used derogatory words to describe U.S. generals to Navarro in 2017 and then said, “They care more about their alliances than they do about trade deals.”
Navarro denied the president said that.
“In his last book, he quoted me extensively in conversation and I publicly called him out,” he said. “Personally because I’ve been there, it’s fiction, not fact.”
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