NEW BERN — As the Tuesday, Sept. 10 special congressional election draws closer, Donald Trump Jr., son of President Donald Trump, paid a visit to New Bern Wednesday evening to rally support for District 3 hopeful Dr. Gregory Murphy.
Mr. Trump was the keynote speaker at the invitation-only event, which also featured talks from former Fox News contributor Kimberly Guilfoyle and Dr. Murphy himself. The event dueled with an appearance by Gov. Roy Cooper at New Bern’s J.T. Barber Elementary School an hour prior.
“Are you aware that Governor Roy Cooper is having a fundraiser this evening?” asked Craven County Republican Chairman Carl Mischka to jeers and laughs from the audience.
While the Trump event was ostensibly about helping Mr. Murphy’s chances in North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District, which stretches much of the eastern part of the state, including Carteret County, speakers focused more on topics of national and international importance. Donald Trump Jr.’s speech touched on topics ranging from North Korea to the Me Too movement.
His presence in New Bern, however, solicited opposition from at least two residents.
“We want to make our voices known,” New Bern resident Earscell Dixon said. “We want to let everybody know that we aren’t happy with our current administration and the hatred, the bigotry, the sexism that should be turn-offs for everyone. That’s why we are here.”
While Ms. Dixon urged eventgoers to reject President Trump’s agenda, Dr. Murphy urged them to support it. Much of his talk emphasized what he felt is the importance of electing legislators sympathetic to the president’s agenda.
“It’s time for us to be bold and to have spines,” Dr. Murphy said. “If we (don’t), the consequences lay on our children and our grandchildren, and I can’t have that on my conscience.”
Dr. Murphy ran on a pro-Trump platform. He was among the top contenders in a packed Republican primary earlier this year that necessitated a runoff for the nomination, which Dr. Murphy secured over opponent Dr. Joan Perry.
On Sept. 10, he will face Democrat and former Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas, Libertarian Tim Harris and Constitution Party candidate Greg Holt. The winner of the special election will serve the remainder of the late Rep. Walter Jones Jr.’s term.
Mr. Mischka took a moment during Wednesday’s event to praise the late lawmaker’s career.
Dr. Murphy urged visitors to not become complacent in the homestretch as the election nears.
“Please, please,” Dr. Murphy said, “we have two weeks left.”
Ms. Guilfoyle spent much of her speech stumping for the president.
“Think of what he has accomplished in just two short years,” she said.
Following Ms. Guilfoyle’s comments, the president’s son gave his perspective about his father’s time in the White House. He compared Mr. Murphy to his father, saying both didn’t need to run for public office.
“Do you know what ‘doctor’ means…in the scheme of things?” Donald Trump Jr. asked the crowd. “It means that Greg does not need this job. Like my father didn’t need his job.”
Talking about some of the president’s possible 2020 competitors, Donald Trump Jr. said it’s important supporters of his father come out against their agenda.
“Bernie Sanders and the rest of the crazies are advocating for social and communism,” the president’s son said. “Let me tell you a little bit about socialism and communism.
“My mother is an immigrant, contrary to popular belief, we don’t exactly have a problem with immigrants, my mom is an immigrant, my dad’s wife is an immigrant, my dad’s mom is an immigrant, it’s just legally. In my mother’s case, she fled communism.”
Donald Trump Jr. said the reasoning behind Dr. Murphy’s candidacy was sound.
“I thank you for doing this,” the president’s son said. “Not because it’s the next step, not because it’s now your turn, but because it’s the right thing to do.”
Contact Dean-Paul Stephens at 252-726-7081, ext. 232; email Dean@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @DeanPEStephens.