LUMBERTON, NC (WBTW) — More than 150 Robeson County Sheriff’s Office deputies were handling traffic and security Saturday morning as crowds arrived to line up to hear President Donald Trump speak.
At least hundreds were in line as of 8:30 a.m., an hour before doors opened. Many were wearing Trump campaign clothing, including the now-iconic red “Make America Great Again” hats.
Some of those supporters arrived at the Robeson County Fairgrounds before dawn to secure a spot to hear the president speak in the community of about 20,000 people.
“I mean, that’s just the way that President Trump is,” said Adam Haller, who was in line before the sun rose. “He doesn’t care if it’s a big community, a small community. He’s going to come out for the people, and basically we are going to support him when he comes out.”
Among those in attendance was Indiana Rep. Greg Pence, Vice President Mike Pence’s brother.
The line began moving at about 9:30 a.m. to let supporters into the fairgrounds. Staff took temperatures and distributed masks and hand sanitizer as the crowd entered.
Inside the fairground, some attendees wore face masks, while others did not wear ones or adhere to social distancing guidelines. Chairs were packed immediately next to each other in the seating area.
North Carolina had 255,708 COVID-19 cases as of Friday, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. There are 1,181 people currently hospitalized, with 5,792 cases total in Robeson County and 91 deaths.
Marcia Hinson, who traveled from Ocean Isle Beach to hear Trump speak, called the president “absolutely amazing.”
“He is unstoppable,” Hinson, who wore a pink “women for Trump” hat, said.
Hinson said that Trump has worked harder than any president she’s seen in her lifetime.
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!!!”
Trump announced on Wednesday that he backed federal recognition for the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. Democratic Candidate Joe Biden made a similar statement earlier this month.
Trump’s remarks will address “fighting for the forgotten men and women,” and will come 10 days before the general election.
North Carolina is expected to be a swing state this year. 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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Trump is scheduled to address supporters starting at 12:30 p.m. after landing in Fayetteville that morning. The visit will be his eighth to North Carolina since August.
He was in West Palm Beach, Florida, to case his ballot earlier on Saturday. After speaking in North Carolina, he was scheduled to speak in Circleville, Ohio and in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
Count on News13 for updates on the visit.
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