A trio of current and former N.C. Democratic women leaders criticized President Donald Trump ahead of his stump speech in Winston-Salem, saying the president offered little leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and hasn't done enough to help working families amid the recession and racial unrest.
Former Gov. Bev Perdue was joined by N.C. Rep. Evelyn Terry of Forsyth County, and Kathy Manning, the Democratic candidate for the revamped 6th Congressional District, which now includes nearly all of Winston-Salem, half of Kernersville and all of Guilford County.
The leaders spoke Tuesday morning ahead of Trump's speech at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Smith Reynolds Airport in Winston-Salem.
They predicted that Trump would not provide any new policy solutions during the rally for managing the pandemic.
Rather, they said that the president would only try to inflame his base at an event they said could further the spread of COVID-19 if participants aren't encouraged to wear masks and practice social distancing.
Perdue said that Trump would not likely discuss how North Carolina has experienced nearly 180,000 COVID-19 cases, more than 2,900 virus-related deaths and an unemployment rate above the national average.
"You think those would be the issues he would discuss tonight," along with the challenges of providing virtual educational opportunities with limited federal assistance.
"Yet, the person in charge of leading the country has yet to do that, he has yet to lead us," Perdue said. "In the last six months, in a powerful, strong, dangerous way, he has shown us he cannot address the problems we face, and he has no solutions."
"Joe Biden and Kamala Harris offer us great solutions for America and for North Carolina. Please listen North Carolinians," Perdue said. "Don't be led by partisan labels ... be led by your heart."
Political analysts have said the likely outcome of the latest redistricting of North Carolina's congressional map is shifting from a 10-3 Republican majority to eight solid Republican and five solid Democrat districts, with the 2nd and 6th districts flipping blue.
Manning is in her second run for a congressional seat, losing in 2018 in the 13th District to Republican Rep. Ted Budd.
"The last six months have been extremely difficult for the Triad, and so many challenges that existed before in our community have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis and Donald Trump's inaction and inept response to this pandemic," Manning said.
Manning cited as examples food scarcity, job losses, lack of access to broadband internet technology, lack of access to affordable health insurance and racial inequality.
"(The president) has willfully refused to wear a mask or practice social distancing, and he has consistently spread misinformation about the virus," Manning said. "It's not about holding in-person rallies that put people's lives at risk.
"Donald Trump has failed us. What the president has never understood is that we can't get our economy back to normal until we get this virus under control, and we have a long way to go. He won't do any better if he's given a second term."
Manning said the pandemic "has given us an opportunity to reevaluate what's important to us, take a hard look at which jobs are truly essential, which people we take for granted, and what we want to prioritize going forward."
Terry said her constituents "don't need a rally right now. What we need are solutions to a virus that has caused our community and our state a lot of misery without leadership from the top right now."
"The president's tactics are to stoke fear and rousing a base that is spewing hateful things and telling things that are not true," she said. "We're not afraid, and we're not going to be pushed back by those voices who are creating chaos in our communities."
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