Winston-Salem, N.C. — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, spoke for about an hour and a half Monday night, following an introduction by Gov. Pat McCrory.
The rally marks Trump’s third appearance in North Carolina in the past six weeks. The visit comes just days after he was officially named the Republican nominee for president.
At last week’s Republican convention, there were questions about party unity surrounding Trump as a candidate, but Monday night, North Carolina Republicans hoped to put that to rest.
“We are unified, and we are here. We are together and, of course, the governor has been with Mr. Trump in the past at some fundraisers,” said North Carolina GOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse. “The key message here today is the Republicans are absolutely unified from top to bottom, and the Democrats are in disarray.”
McCrory took the stage at about 8 p.m. and began his speech with an allusion to the controversial House Bill 2.
“If any of you need to use the restrooms and if you have any questions, go to the Philadelphia convention where all the Democrats are,” McCrory said.
McCrory said that Washington, D.C., needs an outsider like Trump in order to ensure that sanctuary cities are eliminated, energy rates remain low and new regulations are not placed on North Carolina waters. He spoke for only a brief time before introducing Pence, who spoke about the ways Trump will protect police officers in light of recent officer-involved shootings.
“I can tell you with conviction, Donald Trump will always put the safety and security of the American people first, and we will always stand with those who stand on the thin blue line of law enforcement,” Pence said.
During his speech, Trump also spoke about police officers, saying that the majority of them want help others.
“We have great people in the men and women of law enforcement, and we have to take care of those people and cherish those people,” he said.
Trump touched on familiar topics during his time on stage, including how he plans to revitalize trade agreements with China and other countries. He said he plans to enact a 35 percent tax on any goods that are manufactured in other countries and sold in the United States.
“I’m a person who wants to make great deals for our country,” Trump said.
Several times in his talk about trade, Trump pointed to the Triad, which he said has been hurt by job loss.
Trump also said that the money made from his trade plan will allow the country to rebuild the military and take care of those on Social Security.
He said that in his dealings as a businessman, he found that many foreign leaders do not respect America anymore.
“We have leaders that are stupid, we have leaders that are incompetent, or we have leaders that are totally controlled by their lobbyists and special interests, and that’s a big part of it,” Trump said.
Trump spoke about immigration, particularly involving refugees who are coming from Syria. He said that, if he is elected, he will set up safe zones in Syria and asserted that most immigrants who come to America have an ambition to return to their home countries.
"Many of these people would rather be in Syria than here,” he said. “We’re not taking one person into this country. We have enough problems.”
Speaking of his popularity with evangelical Americans, Trump said he plans to eliminate the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits tax-exempt organizations from endorsing or opposing a political candidate, “so that the men and women of faith can speak their minds.”
Before leaving the stage, Trump acknowledged that North Carolina is an important battleground state in the upcoming election and vowed to continue to make public appearances in the state until the election in November.
“I’m going to be in North Carolina so much that you’re going to get sick and tired of me,” he said.