SELMA, N.C. (WTVD) -- Vice President Mike Pence on Friday made another trip from Washington DC to North Carolina because, in his own words, "the road to the White House is through North Carolina."
In an exclusive interview with ABC11, Pence expressed confidence in his and President Donald Trump's outreach to the Tar Heel State, which is worth a crucial 15 electoral votes.
"We're not taking anything for granted in North Carolina," the Vice President said. "But just like the people in the Tar Heel State did in 2016, I believe they'll vote for four more years of Donald Trump in 2020."
With that previous winning game plan in mind, the VP spoke at the same venue as Trump did in 2016. In his remarks Friday, Pence likewise reviewed the greatest hits of the campaign's push, including the military, law and order, and jobs.
"At the height of the pandemic we lost 22 million jobs, but 11.5 million people have gone back to work, including a quarter of a million in North Carolina," Pence said. "The President and I are absolutely determined with additional recovery funds from Congress, by staying on the path of less taxes, less regulation, more free and fair trade, to create new energy to bring our jobs back."
Pence's trip to Selma was his first visit to North Carolina since a roundtable with lawmakers and FDA officials about Operation Warp Speed and the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.
"It really is incredible to think about the progress we've made in such a short amount of time," he said.
As to whether he'll take the vaccine?
"You can count on it."
Former North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt, a Democrat, issued a statement in response to Pence's visit Friday criticizing the administration's COVID-19 response.
"More North Carolinians tested positive for coronavirus yesterday than ever before," Hunt said. "COVID-19 hospitalizations are on the rise, more than 3,800 are dead, and hundreds of thousands are struggling to pay their bills or keep their small business afloat. It didn't have to be this bad, but Vice President Pence - the head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force - has misled North Carolinians and grossly mismanaged the response since the very beginning of this pandemic. By turning their back on science and experts, Pence and President Trump turned their back on North Carolina - and shut the door on doing what is needed to end this public health crisis and the devastation it continues to cause. Vice President Pence might be able to delude himself into thinking everything is OK, but North Carolinians won't fall for his falsehoods. We know we can do better - and a record number of North Carolinians have already cast their ballot for change, and millions more will join them during in-person early voting."