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Trump holds rally in Richmond, looks ahead to November

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(The Center Square) – Former President Donald Trump made a campaign stop in Richmond ahead of Virginia’s presidential primary, taking his aim at the November election and President Joe Biden.

The rally marked Trump’s second stop after speaking in North Carolina earlier in the day. The former president vowed to “make a big play for Virginia” come November.

Despite the Super Tuesday matchup only days away, Trump appeared to have moved past the primaries, failing to mention former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley by name.

Instead, Trump reserved his criticism for Biden and Democrats, including leaders of the country’s largest cities.

The former president focused on the crisis at the southern border and increasing crime, citing the rising crime in the District of Columbia. He vowed if elected, he would take control of the nation’s capital and clean it up.

Trump also criticized the sanctuary laws of Maryland’s Montgomery County after a two-year-old boy was allegedly murdered by a migrant who had been in and out of jail. The former president pointed fingers directly at the president and Democrats.

“His murder is blood on the hands of Joe Biden, and every Democrat who fought to preserve sanctuary cities,” Trump lamented.

Unlike the commonwealth’s neighbors, Trump heaped praise on Virginia’s rich American history, citing the home of several instrumental leaders, including the nation’s first president. He roused the crowd by quoting the commonwealth’s own Patrick Henry, “Give me death or give me death!”

Virginia’s GOP leadership, Gov. Glenn Youngkin and Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears, were absent from the rally. Youngkin has yet to endorse a candidate for president. However, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore was in attendance and has urged fellow Republicans to support the former president’s candidacy.

Gilmore leads a group of national conservative leaders in calling for Haley to drop out of the race.

In a Roanoke College Poll released Friday, Trump leads Haley 51%-43%.

Despite the former South Carolina governor trailing, the poll shows Haley faring better than Trump in a hypothetical matchup against President Joe Biden. The survey shows in the commonwealth, Haley would beat Biden 49%-40%, whereas Trump would lose to Biden 47%-43%.

History may also indicate an uphill battle for Trump’s Virginia ambitions. A Republican presidential candidate hasn’t won Virginia since 2004, when President George W. Bush won reelection. The commonwealth has shifted 9% in favor of Democrats in the last 20 years.

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