Trump cancels rally because of weather, proving the difficulty of balancing a trial, campaign

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Supporters of former US president Donald Trump file out of the rally after it was canceled due to threatening weather in Wilmington, NC on April 20. (AP)

WILMINGTON, NC, April 21, (AP): Donald Trump had to cancel his first planned rally since the start of his criminal hush money trial because of a storm Saturday evening in North Carolina, an added complication that highlights the difficulty the former president faces in juggling his legal troubles with his rematch against President Joe Biden.
Trump called into the rally site near the Wilmington airport less than an hour before he was scheduled to take the stage and apologized to a few thousand supporters who had gathered throughout the afternoon under initially sunny skies that later darkened with storm clouds.
Speaking from his private plane, Trump cited lightning and the incoming storm in explaining that he would not be landing. He pledged to reschedule a “bigger and better” event at the same location “as quick as possible.”
The planned rally in the critical battleground of North Carolina was to cap a week in which Trump spent four days in a Manhattan courtroom sitting silent during jury selection while Biden was able to hold multiple campaign events in Pennsylvania, another key state in the November election.
The cancellation denied Trump a fresh chance to amplify claims that his multiple pending indictments are an establishment conspiracy to take him down – and, by extension, squelch the voters who first elected him eight years ago.
Now, instead of commanding attention on his own terms at one of his signature mass rallies, his next public appearance is almost certainly going to be Monday, back at the defendant’s table for opening arguments in the first felony trial ever for an American president. And his campaign is left to decide when he next can be Trump the candidate instead of Trump the defendant.
“I’m devastated that this could happen but we want to keep everybody safe,” Trump said.
The assembled voters expressed frustrations with the turn of events but made clear they understood. Many of them had spent hours ahead of the rally holding prime seats, patronizing food trucks and perusing a row of tents selling Trump memorabilia, including T-shirts featuring the former president’s mug shot taken in Atlanta after his indictment on charges that he led a criminal conspiracy to overturn Biden’s 2020 victory.
“I’ve been with Donald Trump and I’m still with Donald Trump, but I’m disappointed he didn’t show up,” said Cheryl Lynn Johnson, who drove about two hours from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to attend what would have been her fourth Trump rally. “I’m mad at Mother Nature, but I stand behind Trump.”

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