Monday, June 24, 2024

Ivanka Trump’s Wilmington event marks sixth visit from first family this month [Photos]

Ivanka Trump speaks at a private campaign event in Wilmington, urging North Carolinians to vote for her father in November. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
Ivanka Trump speaks at a private campaign event in Wilmington, urging North Carolinians to vote for her father in November. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)

WILMINGTON — President Donald Trump’s eldest daughter and presidential advisor Ivanka Trump delivered a “fireside chat” at the Bakery 105 building in downtown Wilmington on Monday.

Her visit marked a continuation of a concerted effort from the Trump family to connect with North Carolina voters. In the past two weeks, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump visited Hendersonville and High Point, respectively; Ivanka made a trip to the State Farmers’ Market in Raleigh Thursday; President Donald Trump visited the state twice, including a trip to Wilmington on Sept. 2 and a stop by Winston Salem last week; the President will return to North Carolina this weekend, visiting Fayetteville on Saturday.

Related: Photos and analysis: Trump visits Wilmington, double-voting, supporters and protestors

There’s a reason for an increased focus on the state and region: long considered a purple battleground, N.C. is viewed as a swing state this election. In the past two general elections, N.C. voters have picked a Republican presidential candidate by just a few percentage points. President Barack Obama, the last Democratic presidential candidate to win in N.C., took the state in 2008 with just a 0.3% lead.

“New Hanover County has typically been a bellwether county for the state. The way New Hanover goes typically is how the state goes,” said Congressman David Rouzer (R-N.C.), who sat in the first row of the small, invite-only crowd to hear Ivanka Trump converse with the Trump campaign’s national press secretary Hogan Gidley.

In New Hanover County, Donald Trump secured 49.5% of the vote in 2016; Mitt Romney edged ahead with 51.5% in 2012. At the state level, Trump won N.C. with 49.8% of the vote in 2016 and Mitt Romney carried the state with 50.4% in 2012.

Bull in a China shop

As The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” played over the speakers, Ivanka Trump walked out from behind a blue curtain to applause from the small crowd. She took a seat on a small raised stage and prepared for her “fireside chat” — although the apparent reference to the radio addresses given by President Franklin D. Roosevelt was purely figurative, no actual fireplace was present. Meanwhile, Secret Service agents were stationed throughout the room, as were black-clad members of a private security firm who would not say whether they were based in Wilmington or elsewhere.

Trump spoke glowingly about her father’s record, saying that the president is “not afraid to break some China” in his quest to cut regulations and cut through Washington bureaucracy. 

“Whether you like his opinion on every issue or you don’t, you know where he stands, and that shouldn’t be something that’s highly unusual in the political space,” she said. “You know he’s going to be a complete bull until he delivers, and that’s how he gets things done in a town that, you know, is not exactly — I wish that it was like turning a speedboat but it’s more like trying to turn a tanker.”

Gidley, the campaign’s press secretary, also portrayed the president as an outsider crusader figure in the nation’s capital.

“He is a businessman. He understands that,” Gidley said. “He moves at the speed of Trump we like to say. He never stops. I can’t keep up with the man, I can sit in the back of the room and just kind of veg out for a few seconds, and he can’t. He’s always on. He’s always working.”

Ivanka gave a shout out to Rouzer, who represents souteastern N.C. in Congress. 

“I’d like to acknowledge one of the lawmakers that makes our lives in D.C. easier and more productive, who’s here with us today,” she said. “Congressman Rush thank you so much for everything that you do…” 

Later in her remarks, Trump addressed the congressman correctly. Rouzer said he wasn’t offended by the misnaming. “We’ve been in a rush all morning,” he joked after the event.

Rouzer stood by Trump’s recent insistence that absentee voters should vote again in-person if their original ballot isn’t counted.

The president’s voting advice, first shared during his visit to Wilmington earlier this month which he has since repeated many times over, spurred a sharp state and nationwide reaction. Twitter flagged the president’s tweets on the topic with a warning label; N.C. State Board of Elections had a warning banner on its homepage; N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein called it “terrible advice” and told voters not to listen.

“I think Josh is just playing off the politics of the moment with that,” Rouzer said, adding he’s known the AG for years. “I think they’re making a mountain out of a molehill for the political sake of it.”

In her closing remarks, Trump urged North Carolinians to give her father more time in the White House. “You can get a lot done in four years, but the eight years allow it to take root,” she said.

Check out more pictures from the event. Click to enlarge and scroll:

Representative Holly Grange speaks to an audience member while waiting for the event to begin. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
WECT anchor Jon Evans live-streams in Bakery 105 ahead of Ivanka Trump’s arrival. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
Ivanka Trump steps on stage at a private campaign event in Wilmington, where she urged North Carolinians to vote for her father in November. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
Ivanka Trump speaks at a private campaign event in Wilmington, urging North Carolinians to vote for her father in November. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
Audience members at the invite-only event listen in as Ivanka Trump addresses the crowd. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
Ivanka Trump speaks at a private campaign event in Wilmington, where she urged North Carolinians to vote for her father in November. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
Ivanka Trump speaks at a private campaign event in Wilmington, where she urged North Carolinians to vote for her father in November. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
Ivanka Trump speaks at a private campaign event in Wilmington, urging North Carolinians to vote for her father in November. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
A member of the audience takes a video of Ivanka Trump speaking at a private campaign event in Wilmington, where she urged North Carolinians to vote for her father in November. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
Congressman David Rouzer waits for the event to begin. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
A Secret Service agent stood guard by the small stage throughout the event. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
Ivanka Trump poses with audience members after the campaign event. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)

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