Democrats struck back against former President Donald Trump’s visit to Wilmington on Friday in support of Rep. Ted Budd’s bid for a seat in the U.S. Senate.
The North Carolina Democratic Party hung a billboard outside the entrance of the Wilmington airport Thursday morning with an image of Budd and the words: “It was nothing. And it was just patriots standing up,” referring to a comment Budd made about the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
“Congressman Ted Budd is an election denier that voted against certifying the 2020 election and called insurrectionists ‘patriots,’” N.C. Democratic Party spokeswoman Kate Frauenfelder said in a statement. “North Carolinians deserve a U.S. Senator who stands up for democracy, not one that tries to rewrite the rules to help himself and his political allies.”
The comment Budd made took place on the Todd Starnes Show as Budd was addressing whether a “massive plot” took place that day. Budd was telling the host that a lot of people had issues with what happened with the 2020 election.
“Given how big a billboard is, you would think there would be enough space for Cheri Beasley’s supporters to include the rest of the quote when Ted continued in the same sentence, ‘and it was a bad day for America. It was a bad day for America no matter where you are politically,’” Jonathan Felts, senior advisor to the Budd campaign, said in a statement. “Beasley’s team must be pretty desperate if they have to resort to this sort of out-of-context-alternative-facts-tactic. It’s sad that a former Judge like Ms. Beasley does not value the truth.”
Budd has also said that the mob violence that day was “not representative of our country or this building.”
Hours after the attack, Budd voted in Congress against certifying Electoral College votes for President Joe Biden.
The billboard, more than 10 feet tall and 22 feet long, will greet people as Trump visits the Tar Heel State on Friday to hold a rally supporting Budd’s campaign and the “North Carolina Trump Ticket.” Budd will face former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, a Democrat, in the general election.
When Budd first announced his intention to run, he wasn’t thought to be a front-runner. He faced both former Gov. Pat McCrory and former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker in the Republican primary.
Since the primary in May, the campaign has stayed fairly quiet, holding private events and having many of Budd’s on-camera interviews with conservative media outlets.
After Labor Day, Budd’s campaign became more vocal, but found itself facing controversy last week after failing to comment to The New York Times, The Washington Post and The News & Observer about whether he would accept the results of the 2022 election. Later, suggesting he would accept the results, Budd asked WRAL, “why wouldn’t I?”
Friday’s rally will be held at the Aero Center at Wilmington International Airport. It is Trump’s second rally in the state this year.
Other speakers include Bo Hines, candidate for the 13th Congressional District, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson and U.S. Rep. David Rouzer.
For more North Carolina government and politics news, listen to the Under the Dome politics podcast from The News & Observer and the NC Insider. You can find it at https://campsite.bio/underthedome or wherever you get your podcasts.