Donald Trump Cancels North Carolina Rally Amid Storm and Ongoing Criminal Trial

Former President Trump cancels North Carolina rally due to severe weather, highlighting the challenges he faces in balancing his legal troubles and 2024 campaign.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Donald Trump Cancels North Carolina Rally Amid Storm and Ongoing Criminal Trial

Donald Trump Cancels North Carolina Rally Amid Storm and Ongoing Criminal Trial

Former President Donald Trump was compelled to cancel his planned campaign rally in Wilmington, North Carolina on Saturday evening due to severe weather, including thunderstorms and high winds. The rally, which was set to take place at the Wilmington International Airport, would have been Trump's first major campaign event since the start of his criminal hush money trial in New York earlier this week.

Trump, who was en route from a fundraiser in Charlotte, called into the rally site less than an hour before he was scheduled to take the stage. He apologized to the few thousand supporters who had gathered throughout the afternoon, initially under sunny skies that later darkened with storm clouds. "I'm devastated," Trump said, promising to return to the pivotal state soon.

The cancellation denied Trump a chance to amplify his claims that the multiple pending criminal indictments against him are an establishment conspiracy to take down the presumptive Republican nominee. Instead of commanding attention at one of his signature mass rallies, Trump's next public appearance will be at the opening arguments of his felony trial, the initial instance for a U.S. president.

Why this matters: The rally's cancellation underscores the difficulty Trump faces in juggling his legal troubles with his rematch against President Joe Biden. North Carolina is a critical swing state that both the Trump and Biden campaigns have said they will dedicate significant resources to winning in the 2024 election.

Voters who had assembled for the rally expressed unwavering support for Trump, echoing his claims that the indictments are politically motivated. Trump promised to reschedule the rally at the same location with a "bigger and better" event, and he has used the court proceedings to fold them into the same populist, anti-establishment arguments that first fueled his rise eight years ago.

Despite the rally's cancellation, Trump still raised $6 million at an earlier fundraising event in Charlotte on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee have already hired statewide leadership and field organizers in North Carolina, a key swing state that Trump won narrowly in 2020. The state Republican Party says it has veteran staffers working there since the 2020 election cycle.

Key Takeaways

  • Trump cancels NC rally due to severe weather, his first since NY trial.
  • Trump promises to reschedule rally, vows to return to pivotal swing state.
  • Cancellation denies Trump chance to amplify claims of political indictments.
  • NC is critical swing state, both Trump and Biden campaigns focus resources.
  • Trump raises $6M at earlier fundraiser, Biden campaign hires NC organizers.