President Trump is planning to stage a campaign rally in the battleground state of North Carolina on the same day this month that former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is scheduled to deliver highly anticipated public testimony to Congress.
Trump’s campaign announced Tuesday night that he would return to Greenville, N.C., on July 17, offering some counterprogramming to Mueller’s testimony earlier in the day before the Democratic-led House Judiciary and Intelligence committees.
Mueller’s appearance has been highly sought by Democrats in the wake of his 22-month inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaign and possible obstruction of justice by Trump.
In a statement, Michael Glassner, chief operating officer of Trump’s reelection campaign, said the president’s appearance in North Carolina would provide an opportunity to highlight “the successes of the Trump presidency.”
“North Carolina has one of the hottest economies in the nation, and that is directly attributable to the pro-growth, deregulatory policies of this administration,” Glassner said. He added that Trump is eager to “talk directly to the military men and women who have made this country the greatest on earth.”
Trump carried North Carolina, home to one of the largest active-duty and reserve military populations in the country, by nearly four percentage points over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Trump is seeking to keep the state in the Republican column next year as he faces reelection.
Proponents of Trump’s impeachment hope Mueller’s testimony will increase public support for ousting the president. At the least, his testimony is certain to provide the headline-grabbing, made-for-cable-television testimony that Democrats have been seeking since his 448-page redacted report was released April 18.
Trump is also anticipating the impact of Mueller’s testimony.
“Robert Mueller is being asked to testify yet again,” he wrote in a tweet on Tuesday. “He said he could only stick to the Report, & that is what he would and must do. After so much testimony & total transparency, this Witch Hunt must now end. No more Do Overs. No Collusion, No Obstruction. The Great Hoax is dead!”
Trump’s July 17 rally is scheduled to be held in an arena on the campus of East Carolina University that has an 8,000-seat capacity for basketball. The team’s website describes it as “cozy.”
Rachael Bade contributed to this report.