During a Saturday evening campaign rally in the city of Fayetteville, Trump also boasted about his controversial bid to nominate a conservative Supreme Court justice in an election year following the death of its liberal Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg while chanting with his supporters, “Fill that seat.”
The US president further said his campaign may start selling shirts with the phrase “Fill that seat” and had the crowd vote on whether he should nominate a man or a woman by cheering.
North Carolina has a number of military bases, and Trump’s rally in Fayetteville was near Fort Bragg, a huge base with tens of thousands of personnel.
Trump has boasted about fortifying American armed forces with increased military budgets but has seen his political support decline among service members.
“President Trump has been a consistent champion of America’s service members and veterans and has succeeded at rebuilding our military, reforming the Department of Veterans Affairs, and launching initiatives to help veterans adjust to civilian life,” his campaign proclaimed in a statement on Friday after Vice President Mike Pence touted Trump’s record with the military in the southwestern state of Arizona.
This is while Trump has repeatedly visited North Carolina in recent weeks, making a stop there during the Republican National Convention and a later trip to declare the city of Wilmington a World War Two Heritage City.
However, a poll in the Military Times last month indicated a “slight but significant” preference among active duty military members for Biden, and a weakening support for the hawkish Trump.
An average of polls by RealClearPolitics further points to a tight race between Trump and Biden in North Carolina, with Biden maintaining a slight lead.
This is while Trump has had a mixed relationship with military leaders. He described former US Senator and Vietnam War veteran John McCain of Arizona in derogatory terms and has had to deny a recent report in the Atlantic magazine that he referred to American war dead as “losers” and “suckers.”
Biden, on the other hand, has sought to capitalize on that liability, with his campaign declaring on Friday that it would publish an ad directed at military families to be aired in swing states including Arizona, Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.