November 4, 2016 at 8:01 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Obama: Trump ‘uniquely unqualified’ to be president

President Barack Obama stumps for Hillary Clinton at Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, N.C., on Nov. 4, 2016. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

President Barack Obama stumps for Hillary Clinton at Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, N.C., on Nov. 4, 2016. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — President Obama on Friday sharply criticized Donald Trump during a rally at a historically black university in North Carolina.

“Donald Trump is uniquely unqualified to be president,” he told the more than 4,000 people who attended the rally that took place at the Felton J. Capel Arena on the campus of Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, N.C. “He is temperamentally unfit to be commander-in-chief.”

The rally took place roughly 10 miles from Fort Bragg, which is the largest military base in the world.

An older man who was wearing a military-type uniform held up a Trump sign as Obama spoke.

Many in the crowd began to boo the man as police officers escorted him from the arena. Obama repeatedly told those who were attending the rally to “hold up.”

“This election is going to say something about who we are as a country,” said Obama.

North Carolina is among the handful of battleground states that could determine the outcome of the presidential election.

Early voting began in the state on Oct. 20 and will continue through Saturday at 1 p.m. Two poll workers with whom the Washington Blade spoke at an early voting location near Fayetteville State University after the rally said many voters had already cast their ballots.

A poll that WRAL, a Raleigh television station, conducted between Oct. 28-31 found Trump is ahead of Clinton by a 51-44 percent margin. A survey that Quinnipac University released on Wednesday notes Clinton is ahead of Trump in North Carolina by a 47-44 percent margin.

“She will be an outstanding president,” said Obama. “This is somebody who has dedicated her life to making this country better.”

HB 2 ‘wrote discrimination into’ N.C. law

Friday’s rally took place more than six months after North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed House Bill 2, which bans transgender people from using public restrooms that are consistent with their gender identity and prevents local municipalities from enacting LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination measures.

The Justice Department in May filed a civil rights lawsuit against North Carolina over HB 2. McCrory in September quietly withdrew a lawsuit that his administration brought against the White House.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, who is running against McCrory, said during Friday’s rally that HB 2 “wrote discrimination into our law with a stroke of pen.” He also noted the controversial law has cost North Carolina taxpayers “thousands of dollars” and his state has lost hundreds of millions of dollars “that we know about” in lost business.

“Gov. McCrory has continued to put his partisan political ideology ahead of the best interests of our state,” said Cooper.

Former state Rep. Deborah Ross, who is running against U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), also mentioned HB 2 on Friday.

“We’re going to send a whole bunch of people to the legislature to get rid of House Bill 2, restrictive voting laws, all of these things,” said Ross.

Former state Sen. Josh Stein, who is running to succeed Cooper as the state’s attorney general, accused McCrory and Republican members of the North Carolina Legislature of “inventing ways to discriminate against the LGBT community.”

Obama did not specifically mention HB 2 during his remarks.

“Equality is on the ballot,” he said.

Chelsea Clinton on Saturday is scheduled to attend an event in Charlotte with Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin and Equality North Carolina Executive Director Chris Sgro. Trump will hold a rally in Wilmington.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper speaks at Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, N.C., on Nov. 4, 2016. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper speaks at Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, N.C., on Nov. 4, 2016. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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