Jill Biden returns to North Carolina to rally veterans, military families

Monday, July 8, 2024
Jill Biden returns to NC rallies veterans, military families
Dr. Biden's visit to North Carolina comes as a growing number of Democrats have publicly expressed reservations on the President's electability.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Monday morning, President Biden shared a letter to Democrats on X, vowing to remain in the race, writing in part: "I wouldn't be running again if I did not absolutely believe I was the best person to beat Donald Trump in 2024."

Hours later, the First Lady addressed her husband's campaign.

"For all the talk out there about this race, Joe has made it clear that he's all in," said Dr. Biden, as the crowd began to chant "four more years."

Dr. Biden's visit to North Carolina comes as a growing number of Democrats have publicly expressed reservations on the President's electability, with a small group calling on him to step aside.

"What determines his re-election is what he's done in the last four years. And I think his record is impeccable and it speaks for itself. He's the only choice for the American people," said Sonya Patrick, a Biden supporter who attended Monday's rally in Wilmington.

Monday's event was planned for the launch of Veterans and Military Families for Biden-Harris, as the campaign hopes to reach the nearly 800,000 veterans who live in North Carolina.

"One thing that I've seen personally as a veteran that uses the VA for health care in the Veterans Administration has taken a turn for the better in the last four years. And that's something that I've been very impressed about," said Ian Appling, a Navy veteran who currently serves as Third Vice Chair of the New Hanover County Democratic Party.

"Four years ago, Joe went from being a military father to being Commander in Chief. It's a responsibility he stepped into with pride because, as Joe reminded everyone, any chance he gets - our U.S. military is the finest fighting military force in the history of the world," said Dr. Biden.

Speakers highlighted the administration's accomplishments in addressing the needs of veterans, including the passage of the PACT Act to efforts to address veterans' mental health.

"This is personal to us. We know what it's like to wait to connect on a lagging phone call from across the world to smile through another holiday with an empty chair at the table. Let me ask you this. Does Donald Trump?," said Dr. Biden.

The NCGOP shared pictures on X of a small group of volunteers in Wilmington Monday, waving flags and signs in support of Donald Trump. In a statement, NCGOP Communications Director Matt Mercer wrote:

"First Lady Jill Biden owes members of our military an apology after her husband lied when he said in front of 50 million Americans that no U.S. service members died 'on his watch.' That lie dishonors the soldiers killed at the Abbey Gate due to his disastrous and weak withdrawal from Afghanistan." "The Biden administration has lied, ignored the pain of those families' soldiers, and as we all know, has committed the coverup of the century with the president's own health. Those are the questions reporters should be getting answers to today."

President Biden carried New Hanover County in 2020, flipping it from red to blue, as the party has its sights set on winning the state for the first time since 2008. Biden visited Wilmington in May for an event to highlight work in replacing lead pipes and was in Raleigh less than two weeks ago for his first rally following the debate.

"The Biden campaign understands that North Carolina is a battleground (state) and we don't want to leave anybody behind. We don't want to take anybody for granted," said Rep. Deb Butler, a Democrat who represents New Hanover County.

Vice President Kamala Harris is scheduled to be in Greensboro later this week.

Amid questions and uncertainty about his future, Biden's Raleigh speech is heavily featured in his latest campaign ads. And a defiant Biden also appeared with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, making the case he's still up for the job at age 81. It's a case he will continue to have to make to the public.

WATCH | One-on-one with President Biden: ABC News Exclusive

ABC's George Stephanopoulos sits down with Joe Biden for his first TV interview since last week's debate.

"It's a situation that he has to demonstrate not just in selected clips or selected campaign appearance but over the course of the certainly the next month that he has the mental acuity to go head to head to head with (former President) Donald Trump in the campaign but also govern effectively as president of the United States," said Bob Orr.

Orr is a former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice who used to be a Republican but left the party over Trump. He said right now there's an ongoing debate among other so-called "Never Trumpers." He also said North Carolina's many unaffiliated voters will be paying close attention.

"I do think they're divided I think there's some who say hey Biden is the best choice, we're going to do everything we can do help, there are others saying we're not sure he can beat Trump," Orr said.

Orr says he will support the Democratic nominee no matter who it is because he believes Trump is unacceptable.

He said regardless of how things shake out the next few weeks, North Carolina is still very much a battleground state.

"I think it will be a close race for president here but it's still up for grabs," Orr said.

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Another potential factor in a close race will be whether third parties including those representing Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Cornel West will be approved for the November ballot. A decision from the Board of Elections will be made at a meeting on July 9.