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Trump endorses Rep. Ted Budd for Senate seat at NC GOP address

By
Christen McCurdy and Allen Cone
Former President Donald Trump, speaking at the North Carolina Republican Convention in Greenville on Saturday, made his second public appearance since leaving the White House after speaking at CPAC in late February. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI
Former President Donald Trump, speaking at the North Carolina Republican Convention in Greenville on Saturday, made his second public appearance since leaving the White House after speaking at CPAC in late February. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI | License Photo

June 5 (UPI) -- Former President Donald Trump, in only his second public speech since leaving office on Jan. 20, endorsed U.S. Representative Ted Budd for Senate in 2021 after his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, announced she would not be running for the seat.

Trump last spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 28. Like then, he spoke for rough 90 minutes, calling it "a disgrace what's happening to our country,"

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Before calling Budd to the stage to delegates to the state's GOP state convention in Greenvill, he called his Lara Trump, a North Carolina native, to the stage to address rumors she herself would be running for the seat.

She said it had been a difficult decision, but had decided not to run. She then said she was very excited to announce another candidate who she did not name.

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She then handed the mic back to her father-in-law, who announced his endorsement for \Budd, who announced in April that he is running for North Carolina's Senate seat.

Budd has represented North Carolina's 13th district in the House of Representatives since 2017, and thanked the Trump family for its support during the 2016 election.

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"We got a lot of hard work ahead, so let's get to work, and let's get back to making America great again," Budd said.

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Sen. Richard Burr, one of the seven Senate Republicans who voted to convict him for inciting the Jan. 6 riot, earlier decided not to seek reelection.

Earlier in his address Trump called on North Carolina Republicans to turn out for 2022 midterms Saturday, doling out flattery for those in attendance at the state's GOP convention as well as vitriol for President Joe Biden's administration.

"As we gather today, our country is being destroyed before your very eyes," former President Donald Trump said as he took the stage Saturday night in his second public address since leaving office.

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Trump described President Joe Biden and the "socialist Democrats" as the most left-wing administration ever in history -- "even Bernie Sanders can't believe it, he said this is worse than I ever was" -- who want to "defund our freedoms" and insert "cancel culture, the defunding culture" and "critical race theory" in public schools.

He then proceeded to share praise for multiple individuals present at the convention, and said 2022 would be "a banner year" for North Carolina Party Republicans, and the Republican Party nationwide.

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"I think we're going to gain two or even three U.S. House seats. We're going to take over. We're going to get rid of Nancy Pelosi," he said.

After Budd exited the stage, Trump touted the success of his coronavirus response and blasted Biden's record on jobs and the border.

Michael Whatley, the North Carolina Republican Party chair, introduced Trump, saying "no other president has done more to put America first."

Trump defeated Biden by roughly 74,000 votes with a 1.34 percentage advantage and earned the state's15 electoral votes.

Whatley also said the convention had been the single most successful fundraising event in the party chapter's history.

The media weren't invited to Trump's speed though it was broadcast nationally.

Trump is splitting his time between two of his private clubs: currently Trump National Gold Club Bedminister in New Jersey and Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., during the winter months.

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