Update: President Donald Trump arrived at about 1 p.m. to the Robeson County Fairgrounds, where he was scheduled to hold a rally Saturday.
Update: Air Force One landed at about noon Saturday at the Fayetteville Regional Airport.
LUMBERTON, NC (WBTW) — President Donald Trump will speak in Lumberton today, visiting the swing state about a week and a half before the nation casts its votes in the general election.
Trump is scheduled to address supporters starting at 12:30 p.m. at the Robeson County Fairgrounds after landing in Fayetteville that morning. The visit is his eighth to North Carolina since August.
By 8:30 a.m., a long line of supporters — most in Trump campaign clothing and sporting red “Make America Great Again” hats — were waiting to enter the event, which would open to the crowd at 9:30 a.m.
Among those in attendance was Indiana Rep. Greg Pence, Vice President Mike Pence’s brother.
During a visit to Arizona this week, Trump spoke about his own COVID-19 diagnosis earlier this month, stated that he was healthy, immune and that a vaccination for the virus is coming.
Support for Lumbee Tribe
His North Carolina visit comes days after he put support behind obtaining federal recognition for the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina on Wednesday. The president’s statement comes after Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden made the same commitment earlier this month.
Trump tweeted out his support for the Lumbee Tribe after Air Force One arrived at the Fayetteville Regional Airport at about noon on Saturday.
“Quick stop in North Carolina with a wonderful Indian Tribe, and guests,” his tweet reads. “Then off to two BIG Rallies in Ohio and Wisconsin. See you later!!!”
The Robeson County-based tribe claims about 55,000 members and is the largest American Indian tribe east of the Mississippi River. It has sought to receive full federal recognition since 1888.
It was recognized as American Indian by Congress in 1956, but the decision withheld full benefits that come along with federal recognition. Once recognized, tribes are able to receive funding and services from the United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Tribes can receive recognition through presidential executive orders, treaties, acts of Congress or other federal actions, according to the bureau.
“I’m excited that he’s taking this time to come out and visit us, to check in on us and check out our needs, and this is the first time — well, in my lifetime — where a president has actually talked about getting us federally recognized as the Lumbee Tribe,” said Christopher Locklear, a supporter.
How has Trump performed in North Carolina?
North Carolina is expected to be a swing state in this year’s presidential election. It strongly favored Trump in the 2016 election, when he took 50.46% of the vote, winning by a 3.7 point margin.
Robeson County, specifically switched from blue to red, supporting President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 before Trump won the county in 2016 at 51.16% of the vote, making him the first Republican presidential nominee to turn the county since 1972.
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Biden was ahead in North Carolina’s polls, according to information Friday from FiveThirtyEight, a website that focuses on poll analysis. The Democratic nominee had 49.2% support and has performed ahead of Trump in the state’s polls since at least March, according to poll averages.
Count on News13 for updates on the visit.
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