Former President Donald Trump was in Wilmington, North Carolina on Friday rallying in support of Republican Representative Ted Budd in his race for the U.S. Senate.
Budd is in a close contest with Democrat and former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley and his campaign had welcomed Trump as a potential boost to voter turnout.
However, the former president is facing mounting legal woes, including a major civil lawsuit brought against him by New York Attorney General Letitia James and the continuing FBI investigation of his handling of White House documents at his Florida home.
Here are the key moments from Trump’s North Carolina rally.
1. Trump Calls Letitia James a ‘Raging Maniac’
In comments that may not have come as a surprise, former President Trump described New York Attorney General Letitia James as a “maniac” who should no longer be in the legal profession.
On Wednesday, James announced a $250 million civil lawsuit against Trump, the Trump Organization and his children, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump, alleging that Trump had inflated his net worth and cheated lenders and others with false and misleading financial statements over a period of 20 years.
Trump called the lawsuit “baseless, abusive and depraved.”
“This raging maniac campaigned for office ranting and raving about her goal,” Trump said. “Her only goal is, we got to get Donald Trump. We’re gonna get him. She knew nothing about me. I never heard of her.”
2. Crowd Accused of QAnon Salute
Members of the crowd at Trump’s rally have been accused of using a one-finger salute related to the QAnon conspiracy theory for the second time.
Video taken from the rally appears to show staff stopping the crowd from making the salute while melodramatic music played in the background. Rally attendees at Trump’s event in Youngstown, Ohio last weekend were accused of making the gesture, which critics have said is linked to QAnon.
Some have argued that the salute is a reference to the “where we go one we go all” motto of the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory, while others say it is a reference to Trump’s “America First” slogan.
The dramatic music that played during the rally is also allegedly associated with QAnon and played at Trump’s Ohio rally and previously at his rally in Pennsylvania on September 3.
Newsweek has contacted Trump’s office for comment.
3. The ‘Big Lie’
Trump has continued to assert that he won the 2020 presidential election and that it was stolen from him through voter fraud and other irregularities. These claims have become known as the “Big Lie” among his critics.
The former president revisited those claims during his rally on Friday and he called for an end to early voting and said voting should take place in person on election day with hand-marked ballots only. Early voting is one of the aspects of the last election that Trump has blamed for his defeat.
Trump also encouraged people to vote, saying: “You don’t have a choice.”
“We’re not going to have a country left. You gotta get out. You got to swamp them,” he said.
Early voting in midterm elections in North Carolina will begin on October 20.
4. U.S. Could ‘End Up in World War 3’
Trump questioned President Joe Biden’s mental capabilities and suggested the U.S. could end up fighting another world war.
“We have a President who is cognitively impaired and in no condition to lead our country, which may very well end up in World War 3,” Trump told rally-goers.
His comments come at a time of heightened tensions after Russia announced a partial mobilization of its armed forces earlier this week and Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to threaten the West with nuclear weapons.
5. Trump Explains the Jets v. Browns Game
In an unusual aside, Trump took time to discuss the New York Jets’ recent victory over the Cleveland Browns. The game took place on Sunday, September 18 with the Jets triumphing 31-30.
“You have any football fans?” Trump asked. “The craziest game I ever saw was the Jet game last week.”
The former president gave his own recap of the game before giving a shoutout to Jets owner Woody Johnson, who was in the crowd.