Trump cancels North Carolina rally due to storm

Former U.S. President Donald Trump enters Manhattan Criminal Court after a lunch break during his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments on April 19, 2024 in New York City. 

Spencer Platt | Via Reuters

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump abruptly canceled a campaign rally in North Carolina on Saturday because of an incoming storm, telling the crowd he was “devastated” and promising to return to the battleground state soon.

Trump called into the outdoor rally from his private jet about 30 minutes before he was due to appear at an airport in Wilmington, instructing everyone to leave immediately because of safety concerns as lightning flashed overhead.

“I’m devastated that this could happen but we want to keep everybody safe,” Trump said, his voice amplified by speakers to thousands of supporters, many of whom had lined up since early morning in hot and humid conditions.

“…I think we’re gonna have to just do a rain check. I’m so sad,” Trump said.

The event was due to occur after the first week of Trump’s historic criminal trial in New York stemming from a hush-money payment to a porn star. With jury selection completed, opening statements were expected to begin on Monday.

Trump, who is set to face Democratic President Joe Biden in the Nov. 5 general election, also faces criminal cases in Washington, Georgia and Florida, but the New York case is the only one certain to go to trial this year.

Both the Biden and Trump campaigns have set their sights on winning North Carolina, one of six or seven swing states that will likely determine the outcome in November. Trump narrowly won the state in 2020 over Biden.

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to North Carolina to campaign last month.

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