Trump visits Charlotte to raise money for Rep. Ted Budd

Published 6:12 pm Friday, August 31, 2018

By Zeke Miller

Associated Press

CHARLOTTE — President Donald Trump says the prospect of North Carolina drawing new congressional districts weeks ahead of the November midterm election is “unfair.”

Speaking at a fundraiser for a pair of GOP candidates in Charlotte, Trump says, “I think it’s unfair with this whole redistricting thing they’re doing in North Carolina.”

A panel of federal judges Monday struck down the state’s congressional map, saying Republican state legislators went too far using political data to preserve GOP-held seats.

The judges raised the possibility of redrawing the districts by mid-September so they could be used in November elections, or at least before the next session of Congress is seated in January.

Republicans are objecting to the plan, which comes as they are fighting to defend their control of the House of Representatives.

Trump was in Charlotte to raise money for Rep. Ted Budd of the 13th District and Republican candidate Mark Harris in the 9th District.

Trump addressed about 300 people at Carmel Country Club in Charlotte. Money raise also will benefit the state Republican Party and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Trump warned that Democrats have “some really bad people that are running for office” and said that if they retake control Congress, Democrats will roll back the GOP’s 2017 tax law and other accomplishments.

The NRCC says the fundraiser is raising $750,000.

Both Budd and Harris lag significantly behind their Democratic opponents in cash on hand in districts observers say are the most competitive in the state.

The last campaign finance reports released in July show Harris has less than $300,000 in campaign funds. His Democratic opponent, Dan McCready, has $1.8 million.

Budd trails opponent Kathy Manning by about $500,000.

While in Charlotte, Trump directed the Labor and Treasury departments to work to make it easier for small businesses to band together to offer retirement plans to their workers.

Trump signed an executive order requiring that the departments issue regulations to remove regulatory hurdles that keep small businesses from coming together to form what are called association retirement plans. He said the cost of administering 401(k)s and other plans discourages small businesses from making them available.

“They’ll be banding together. They’ll have such strength,” Trump said. “They’ll be able to negotiate incredible deals.”

Most Americans use plans offered by their employers to save for retirement. But about one-third of all private-sector workers, and just under a quarter of all full-time workers in the private sector, lack access to workplace retirement plans, James Sherk, assistant to the president for domestic policy, told reporters Thursday.

The problem is more acute among businesses that employ fewer than 500 people.

About half of workers at these businesses don’t have access retirement plans, Sherk said. He referenced surveys in which more than one-third of small- and medium-sized business that don’t offer retirement plans cited high costs as the main reason.