Republican Donald Trump rallied thousands of supporters Monday afternoon at the N.C. State Fairgrounds, making a final pitch to battleground North Carolina one day before the election.
Trump repeated his attacks on Democrat Hillary Clinton’s handling of emails as secretary of state.
“Hillary Clinton is the most corrupt person ever to seek the office of president of the United States,” Trump told the crowd amid chants of “lock her up.”
“She’s being protected by a totally rigged system.”
Never miss a local story.
Trump voiced skepticism in FBI director James Comey’s announcement Sunday that investigators have finished reviewing new emails related to Clinton’s use of a private email server. Comey said Clinton will not face charges.
“They went through 650,000 emails in eight days – yeah right,” Trump said. “So sad what’s going on.”
Trump ridiculed Clinton’s use of high-profile musicians like Beyonce and Jay Z to draw crowds to her rallies.
“I get bigger crowds than they do,” he said. “I don’t have a guitar, and I don’t have a piano. All we have is great concepts for our country.”
Trump said that if he used what he views as inappropriate language in Beyonce and Jay Z’s music, he would face execution though “reinstitution of the electric chair.”
Clinton was due to be in Raleigh late Monday to close out her presidential campaign with a midnight rally down the street at N.C. State University’s Reynolds Coliseum. She’ll be joined by musicians Lady Gaga and Jon Bon Jovi as well as former President Bill Clinton and their daughter Chelsea.
The two Raleigh rallies highlight North Carolina’s role as a crucial battleground state – and a state that’s too close to call on the eve of the election.
A New York Times/Siena poll conducted over the weekend found the candidates tied at 44 percent support. The RealClearPolitics average of N.C. polls gave Trump a 1.4 percentage point lead, while the latest Quinnipiac poll gave Clinton a 2 percentage point lead.
Megan Chasnis, 36, of Morrisville attended the Trump rally and said she’s “hopeful and confident” that the Republican will win the election she views as a “good versus evil” choice.
“It’s time to get the corruption out of Washington,” she said, adding that Trump supporters have been unfairly caricatured this year. “I’m not a white-trash older man like Hillary says all Trump supporters are.”
Trump said Monday he’s confident he’ll win the state and the election, which he said will be “Brexit plus plus plus,” a reference to the United Kingdom’s surprising vote to leave the European Union.
But he said the “movement” he’s created likely won’t return in the next election if he loses.
“They may say good things about our movement, but it won’t mean a damn thing, folks,” he said. “If we don’t win, I will consider this the single greatest waste of time, energy – wow do you need energy for this – and money.”
Trump promised to bring back jobs if he wins, pointing to manufacturing work in North Carolina that has moved overseas.
“The economic policies of Bill and Hillary Clinton have destroyed manufacturing in your state and throughout the entire country,” he said. “The theft of North Carolina jobs will end. You’ve taken it harder than most states.”
He said he’ll “bring back the miners” by promoting “clean coal,” although the coal industry is largely absent from North Carolina.
Trump repeated his campaign pledges to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a law that will bring “such great health care for much less money.” He said he’ll stop Syrian refugees from entering the country in order to “keep radical Islamic terrorists the hell out of our country.”
He said he sees “tremendous potential” to improve life in the crime-ridden “inner cities.”
“You can’t walk to the store and get a loaf of bread – often you get shot,” he said, noting that the neighborhoods are home to African-Americans and Hispanics. “I’m going to fix it. What the hell do you have to lose?”
Before Trump took the stage, the crowd heard from two other N.C. Republican candidates – Gov. Pat McCrory and state Sen. Buck Newton, who’s running for attorney general.
“As my good friend said the other day, we’re not going to be calling her President Clinton, we’re going to be calling her by her other name: Inmate Clinton,” Newton said.
McCrory also called on Republicans to vote Tuesday. “We will not be intimidated by the radical left; we will no longer be the silent majority,” the incumbent governor said.