President holds rally at Minges Coliseum
President Donald Trump, left, introduced N.C. Third Congressional District candidate Dr. Greg Murphy during his rally at Minges Coliseum in Greenville on Wednessday. Photo by Junious Smith III / Neuse News
GREENVILLE — The first rally of the "Keep America Great" campaign touched down at ECU this week.
Minges Coliseum was at capacity with more than 8,000 packing the arena on Wednesday to hear from President Donald Trump, who launched his presidential campaign in Eastern North Carolina. Trump spoke for more than 90 minutes, enthralling his supporters with speeches about what he's accomplished since taking office, attacks against those who detest him and encouraging the public to vote.
"Thank you to the people of North Carolina," Trump said. "It's wonderful to be back in this beautiful state with thousands of hard-working North Carolina patriots. America is winning again, America is respected again and we are finally putting America first."
Vice President Mike Pence was also in attendance, setting up Trump with his speech to warm up the crowd before the president's speech.
"North Carolina and America need four more years," Pence said. "The campaign for America's future continues tonight and what began four years ago has grown into a movement. It's a movement of everyday Americans from every walk of life. Here in North Carolina, you believed we could be strong again. You believed we could be prosperous again.
“North Carolina, you said 'yes' to President Donald Trump in 2016 (and we want) you vote for Donald Trump in 2020."
N.C. Rep. John Bell (R-Wayne), the House Majority Leader, delivered the opening speech and said Trump has done his part to help the nation.
"We're here tonight because we love our country," Bell said. "We're here tonight because we treasure the freedoms. We're here tonight because we want to keep America great, and we're here tonight because we'd love to (re-elect) Donald Trump president of the United States of America.
"In 2016, Trump promised us that if we elect him president, he would make America great again, he would protect this country from our enemies, he would turn our country around economically and would start draining the swamp. He said other countries would start respecting us again and he promised that he would put America first."
N.C. Third Congressional District hopeful Dr. Greg Murphy made the next speech and was later brought back on stage by Trump, who gave him his support heading into a Sept. 10 election against Democratic nominee Allen Thomas, Libertarian Tim Harris and Constitution Party nominee Greg Holt for the vacant seat previous held by the late Walter Jones.
"It would be my greatest honor to serve you as your congressman, and I do so only with the intention of serving our president and serving his 'America first' agenda," Murphy said.