Trump endorses Ted Budd after daughter-in-law declines to enter Senate race

Former President Donald Trump announced his endorsement for Congressman Ted Budd on Saturday night during the NC GOP State Convention after his daughter-in-law Lara Trump declined to enter the state's Senate race.

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Keely Arthur
, WRAL reporter & Sydney Franklin, WRAL multiplatform producer
GREENVILLE, N.C. — Former President Donald Trump announced his endorsement for Congressman Ted Budd on Saturday night during the NC GOP State Convention after his daughter-in-law Lara Trump declined to enter the state's Senate race.

Lara Trump, a Wilmington native and North Carolina State University graduate, told attendees of the convention that she was saying, "No for now, not no forever," to running for political office in the state.

"It's something I did a lot of soul searching, a lot of thinking and talking with my father-in-law, my parents and my husband Eric and because of the values that my parents instilled in me - they taught me that when you do something, you give 100 percent. That is the only way to operate," she said. "Because of my two kids that are very young ... it is going to be very hard for me to enter this Senate race, right now."

During his endorsement of Budd, Trump said the congressman had "always been with me."

"This gentleman is going to be your next Senator," described Trump in his introduction of Budd. "He's going to be somebody that you're so proud of."

"I am giving him my complete and total endorsement. We're going to work with him, campaign with him. You can't pick people that have already lost two races and do not stand for our values," he added.

Trump also added that Budd hadn't been pushing him for an endorsement, unlike others.

"I don't want a lot of people running, and then they're going to be disappointed. In many cases, they're friends of mine. They're great people. They're thinking about running and they wanted to wait, frankly, until Lara made her decision because she would have been tough," said Trump.

Budd announced he was running for the Senate seat being vacated by Richard Burr on April 28.

In his announcement, Budd said that immigration, religious liberty and the economy would be central issues to his campaign.

Budd was the third major GOP candidate to enter the race. Former Congressman Mark Walker and former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory have also declared their Senate bids.

After Trump announced his endorsement for Budd, McCrory said he was "disappointed" in a statement:

“I’m disappointed that President Trump has endorsed a Washington insider who has done more to oppose the Trump agenda than anyone in this race. We will win this race – the primary and the general. Ted Budd opposed President Trump’s plan to secure the border, to support our farmers, to repeal Obamacare, and he even voted against President Trump’s COVID vaccines," said McCrory in a statement. "Now, he’ll do even more to defeat President Trump’s agenda if he’s the Republican nominee by giving our seat in the US Senate to Chuck Schumer and the Democrats. Ted Budd’s bought-and-paid-for Washington insider voting record is not electable in North Carolina. If supporters of President Trump want his agenda to be supported in the US Senate, they should not vote for Ted Budd, who has opposed him at every turn – and who would lose to the far-left next November.”

The North Carolina Democratic Party said," One Thing is clear: Republicans in the North Carolina Senate primary are in disarray, and this GOP intraparty fighting is only escalating," in a statement after Trump's endorsement.

State Senator and Democratic Senate candidate Erica Smith said Budd has "dedicated his political career to winning favor with our twice impeached, banned from social media, former President."

"His blind devotion to the Trump crime family has come at the expense of North Carolina's workers and North Carolina families. Ted voted against raising the minimum wage, against the American Recovery Plan, against restoring overtime pay, against protecting unions and against family leave. At the same time, he's voted to cut taxes for corporations and billionaires," said Smith in a statement.

State Sen. Jeff Jackson and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley are the top Democrats seeking their party’s nomination for the 2022 election.

During his speech, Trump also questioned the integrity of the 2020 election. He pointed to unfounded allegations of voter fraud, and then turned his focus to the future.

"A year that I very much look forward to [is] 2024. We are going to do things like you've never seen before. I am confident North Carolina residents will reject Joe Biden and radical Democrats," he said.

Trump wrapped up his hour-and-a-half long speech by calling for a return to more Republican power.

"We will strengthen our military, support our police and always support our veterans," said Trump. "Our movement is far from over. In fact, it is just getting started."


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