NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WWBT) - President Donald Trump made a push for the 13 electoral votes in Virginia by holding a rally in Newport News in front of thousands of his supporters on Friday night.
More than 4,000 people showed up to hear from Trump from the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport along Bland Boulevard, despite a push from public health officials to block the rally.
Vice President Mike Pence also attended the rally, speaking before the president arrived.
Trump started out by telling the crowd without him, Democrats will take their guns, followed by him making fun of Governor Ralph Northam’s blackface scandal.
Come Election Day on November 3, Trump said it could be months before there is a winner.
“We’re not going to lose this unless they cheat. Our country is at stake. These people will destroy our country,” Trump said.
Trump said multiple times that he’s going to make a play for Virginia. In 2016, the president lost Virginia by about five percentage points to Hillary Clinton. In a recent poll from the Wasson Center for public policy at Christopher Newport University, it had former Vice President and Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, up among likely voters by 5%.
The president got one of the loudest cheers of the night from the crowd when he mentioned Saturday’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
Friday’s rally was not without some controversy, the Peninsula Health District was concerned about the size of the crowd, and this being an opportunity to spread the coronavirus.
Currently, under Phase 3 of Virginia’s reopening plan, the maximum number of people at a large gathering is 250.
The city of Newport News has experienced close to 3,000 COVID-19 cases, 100 hospitalizations and about 40 deaths. The health Director also said “considerable evidence from similar events held by this organization show face-covering requirements are not being enforced at these events.”
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