Trump's son courts religious conservatives in Raleigh
Posted October 23, 2020 7:54 p.m. EDT
Updated October 26, 2020 7:38 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — President Donald Trump's campaign is trying to energize its base in North Carolina as the election nears and a state critical to his re-election bid remains up for grabs.
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are staging separate rallies in eastern North Carolina this weekend, urging rural voters to get to the polls. On Friday, Trump's second son courted religious conservatives with a speech strong on God and freedom at an evangelical church in Raleigh.
"We love faith in America. We love faith in our country," Eric Trump told a cheering crowd at RFA Church. "Make no mistake, faith is absolutely under attack in America."
The younger Trump cited his father's insistence that the White House tree be called a Christmas tree, and he noted that the phrase "under God" was left out of the Pledge of Allegiance during a meeting at this summer's Democratic National Convention.
"They've become the party of the atheists," he said of Democrats. "They're happy to keep liquor stores open, but they want to keep churches like this closed."
Democrats want to restrict people's freedoms, he said, while the president will continue to expand freedoms.
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Eric Trump compared his father's 2016 election victory to the biblical story of David and Goliath, saying divine intervention helped them overcome all odds.
"You better believe that there was somebody watching down on that process because we wouldn't have stood a chance otherwise," he said. "Somebody had their hands on my father's shoulders and guided him and the rest of the family."
The 20-minute speech hit on topics like Middle East peace and law and order but never mentioned the coronavirus pandemic or the nationwide push for racial justice.
He addressed the virus, the lack of masks at Trump campaign events and race relations in an interview with WRAL News.
Although he noted the campaign encourages people "to be very vigilant and be smart" when it comes to the virus, he was dismissive of the need for masks and other pandemic-related precautions. Most of those inside RFA Church for his speech weren't wearing masks.
"People want our country reopened. They want to get back to life," he said. "Americans weren’t meant to be locked in their basements. They don’t have that luxury. You have to work. You have to keep an economy going."
On the subject of race, Eric Trump reiterated the claim that President Trump has done more to benefit Blacks in the U.S. than any other president, deflecting the question when pressed what his father will do to address racial inequality.
"Look at peace in the Middle East. Look at what he’s done for prescription drug pricing. My father's done a phenomenal job for this country. I mean, look at school choice. No one wants to talk about school choice," he said.