CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CN) – On the eve of Super Tuesday, a hefty crowd turned out on Monday for President Donald Trump’s rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he lashed out at the Democrats vying for a chance to beat him in November.
Primary election voters in South Carolina last week picked Joe Biden as their top choice for a Democratic nominee, but on Monday as North Carolina voters prepared to cast their ballots in Tuesday’s election Trump bashed the former vice president.
“I honestly don’t think he knows what office he’s running for,” Trump said. He’s not going to be running it,” Trump added, referring to the White House. “Other people are going to. They’re going to put him into a home and other people are going to be running the country and they’re going to be super left radical crazies.”
Trump claimed that Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders do not spark as much enthusiasm as his campaign does.
The two top-polling Democratic candidates were not the only ones to receive criticism from Trump on Monday.
“The Democrat party has gone crazy,” Trump said. “Whether it’s Bernie Sanders’ plan to eliminate private health care, Elizabeth Pocahontas’ plan, by the way she’s history … I thought she was making a comeback but you know those embers never burnt long. In fact, she’ll probably lose the state of Massachusetts to Bernie so she doesn’t know what to do.”
Trump said that Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar – who withdrew from the presidential race Sunday and Monday respectively – should be “impeached” for supporting Biden.
“Mayor Pete Buttigieg, he quit last night and then I hear a senator from a state we’re going to win, she dropped out,” Trump said. “Sounds like they made a deal. They both supported sleepy Joe. You know why? They made a deal.”
Trump sang his own praises during the rally on Monday, claiming credit for the economic spike that followed the stock market downfall amid coronavirus fears last week.
“Do you think our opponents were thrilled when they saw the stock market today?” Trump asked the crowd.
The president also took a moment to weigh in on local races.
“We must devote everything we have toward victory in November. November 3 to be exact,” Trump said. “Together we will elect a Republican Congress to create a fair, safe, sane and lawful system of immigration. “
Noting that he won the state during the 2016 election, Trump told the audience that Republicans will win North Carolina “by a landslide” this time around. He stated an opinion that the Republican party “has never been so unified as it is now.”
While the race for the presidency is seemingly at the forefront of the American public’s political concerns, the winners of state-based campaigns – especially in a swing state like North Carolina – could determine which party holds the most sway in Washington.
North Carolina voters on Tuesday will be tasked not only with picking which Democratic and Republican candidates will face off in the presidential race, but also which candidates will run in a pivotal U.S. Senate contest this fall.
Five candidates are running in the Democratic primary for North Carolina’s U.S. Senate seat. Four candidates, including incumbent Senator Thom Tillis, are listed on the Republican primary ballot.
“We’re gonna reelect Thom Tillis, and if we don’t, I’m going to be so angry at you,” Trump warned the audience.
Tillis, whose public statements and policies strongly align with those of Trump, joined the president on the stage toward the end of the event to tout what he believed to be Trump’s successes while in the oval office.
“It starts tomorrow. We’re both on the ballot,” Tillis said of himself and Trump. “You need to vote for us so we can do it again.”
Outside the arena, some North Carolina residents spoke against Trump.
Melissa Jackson, a protester, held a homemade sign with the words “Dump Trump.”
“I am here to follow my convictions, and to make my voice known. Here, what Trump is doing is not okay,” Jackson said.
Jackson, a veteran of the U.S. Navy who has lived in Charlotte for 15 years, cited Trump’s handling and response to accusations of 2016 election interference as her main concern regarding his presidency.
“If you’re not wearing a MAGA hat, you probably look like a Democrat,” yelled a merchandise vendor over the half-packed parking lot outside of the Bojangles’ Coliseum. “Just saying,” he added.
Originally from Ohio, Jackson grew up in a conservative family. Pete Buttigieg was her candidate of choice, but since he dropped out of the race following his recent South Carolina defeat, she is considering Biden as a possible option.
“How can you support Trump? He is racist,” Jackson asked a Trump supporter who approached her.
“I’m a negro, prove it to me,” said Mark Robinson from Greensboro, North Carolina, who accused Jackson of lying about the president’s alleged racism.
A bout of loud debate pertaining to a wall on the Southern border soon drew a crowd, and several Trump fans surrounded Robinson to ask for photos with him.
Jackson stood with her sign as some filmed and yelled, and others outwardly called her brave and shook her hand.
Jackson is one of many undecided North Carolina voters.
“Security just came and escorted me out of line,” Dan Cava, an unaffiliated voter, told Courthouse News outside the rally.
He said that his T-shirt with former candidate Amy Klobuchar’s name prompted security to remove him from the event and that he came as a quiet observer.
“Klobuchar backed out of the race today, so that was disappointing, but I’ll probably go to another candidate during the general election,” Cava said.
Like Jackson, without his Democratic candidate of choice, Cava is undecided. Both Cava and Jackson said their primary objective for the 2020 presidential elections is to beat Trump in the general election.
“I’m a political moderate by American standards, so I’ll probably end up veering in that direction,” Cava said. “If I had to do it over again, I would have gone with someone who is ideologically similar to Amy Klobuchar.”
“An issue that bothers me the most, is the degradation of norms represented by this president,” said Cava, who was a registered Republican until 2016. He cited immigration policy as an issue that drove him to the polls.
Kevin Field, a Hickory, North Carolina, resident who is originally from Florida, said he is “150% a Trump supporter.”
“I think he stands up for the American people and the military,” Field said. “Whether you like what he says or you don’t, he gives it to you as it is and you know where he stands.”
Field attended the rally with his son, Christian, who said he agrees with Trump’s stance against socialism.
While North Carolina residents decide their primary candidates, Charlotte officials are preparing to host the Republican National Convention on August 24.