As Donald Trump returned to the campaign trail in North Carolina, he’s fending off criticism of his stop Wednesday in D.C.
The Republican nominee took a break from more traditional campaigning to open his new hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue.
The Trump campaign released an election night map that shows the candidate getting exactly 270 electoral votes, an indication of how little margin for error he has left.
On the stump in the more traditional battleground state of Pennsylvania, Tim Kaine mocked Trump’s D.C. hotel detour.
“That’s gonna be the only building with a Trump in it in Washington, on Pennsylvania Avenue, when this is all over,” he said.
Trump defended the decision at both of his stops.
“I wanted to be there for my children, who worked so hard on the hotel,” Trump said.
The Tar Heel state figures prominently in Trump’s path. Mitt Romney took it back from Barack Obama four years ago, and Trump has to hold it.
He’ll also need to recapture 2012’s most competitive battleground: Florida, where President Obama won by less than a point, and where Hillary Clinton stumped the last three days.
“Florida can make the difference, and if people get out and vote, we will have a victory on November 8,” Clinton said.
According to a fundraising memo to supporters, Trump’s campaign believes he needs to capture states where some polls have shown him leading: Iowa, Ohio and Nevada. And his public schedule shows a trip to Maine next week, where he could lock down one electoral vote.
Trump can’t afford to lose any Republican states either. That’s why Mike Pence appeared in bright red Utah tonight, hoping to hold off a third party challenge there.
“We are all knotted up here in Utah,” Pence said. “We’re knotted up in America and we’re going to drive all the way to the finish.”
Trump has also once again made “free media” his friend...mixing business and politics to get his message to places he can’t reach with so little time remaining.
“Today is a metaphor for what we can accomplish for this country,” Trump said.
Neither Trump nor Pence have any events scheduled in Virginia, and the commonwealth isn’t mentioned in the campaign memo. It’s off the table.
Hillary Clinton has rallies scheduled in Iowa and North Carolina this week and is keeping next week’s schedule open to respond where her campaign feels it needs to plug holes.