NCGOP vows to keep up campaign energy as Trump isolates in DC following COVID-19 diagnosis

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- There is no replicating a Presidential visit, especially one from Donald J. Trump.

North Carolina Republicans, however, are now tasked with keeping up the energy and enthusiasm on the campaign trail despite the president now staying in Washington for at least the next two weeks.

"First and foremost our thoughts are with the president, the first lady, (RNC chairwoman) Ronna McDaniel and (presidential advisor) Hope Hicks, and anyone else that tests positive," Michael Whatley, NCGOP Chairman, said. "We're going to wish them the best and pray for a speedy recovery. From the campaign perspective, we'll wait and see what guidance they'll put out when the president gets back in the field and what's going to look like."

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The Tar Heel State has been a favorite destination for the president, with several visits just in September. That includes recent visits to Charlotte, Fayetteville and Winston-Salem.

"We had Ivanka in Gaston County (on Thursday) and masks were mandated," Whatley added. "Everyone social distanced, temps were checked. We'll continue to have those protocols. In terms of the president's events, I would not be surprised to see some changes."

Before that, though, Whatley said the president's supporters should expect a more grassroots-focused approach to campaigning, plus an added focus on down ballot races.

"You look at our judicial races for example, you look at our council of state, legislative, North Carolina is the eye of the hurricane politically. We've got such a purple state and enthusiasm is very high on both sides."

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Speaking specifically on the diagnosis, Whatley maintained that he thinks the President has indeed taken this virus seriously and is confident that recent events in North Carolina were safe for those who attended.

"I think it's important to remember the steps he took with the CDC and FDA to accelerate testing for new vaccines and treatments, and millions of dollars put into economy through PPP and through direct relief to the states," he said. "Nobody that's ever on Air Force One hasn't been tested. No one that's been close to (the President) or in the room has not been tested. He's tested every single day. The protocols have been very effective."
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