NC Senator Richard Burr Stands by Donald Trump in Battleground-State Debate

While Republicans withdraw from Trump, Sen. Richard Burr remains supportive.

Burr doesn't believe Trump actually committed the acts he described in the 2005 video leaked last Friday, he said.

“I think, if in fact he did it, that would be sexual assault," Burr said Thursday night of allegations against the real estate developer-turned-politician. "I take him at his word: He said he didn't do it."

Burr, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also refused to weigh in on Trump’s skepticism that Russia is behind recent hacks of Democrats’ emails, although Burr did not appear to be aware that the intelligence community, in a statement released earlier this month, specifically blamed Russia for “direct[ing] the recent compromises of emails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from US political organizations.”

In addition to a presidential race that’s so close here, North Carolina’s Senate race also has significant national implications. Democrats need to gain four or five net Senate seats, depending on who becomes president, in order to retake control of the Senate, and for many political observers, it has become more competitive than expected.

At least one campaign ratings site, Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, considers the Senate contest to be a “toss-up” race instead of “lean Republican,” which would favor Burr.

An NBC/WSJ poll of North Carolina likely voters released Thursday showed Clinton up 4 points, with 45 percent. Trump, meanwhile, scored 41 percent. Burr and Ross were tied in the poll, each with 46 percent.

The candidates were also asked about some of the major topics within the state, including the issue of policing and race, in light of the police shooting of Charlotte resident Keith Lamont Scott in late September.

When asked whether he believes there is a systemic problem with police officers’ racially discriminating against minorities, Burr said he was the “last one that would try to answer that.”

He also noted that the officer who shot Scott was African-American, and therefore, he argued, would not have been motivated by racial bias.

Asked whether he believed transgender individuals should be able to use the bathroom that reflects their gender identity, and not necessarily what’s on their birth certificate, Burr responded, “I don’t think so.”

He added that he didn’t think the law, which entities like the NBA and PayPal say compelled them not to bring their business to the state, had affected the local economy.

“I can only base it on what I see in the economic data. We still attract investment and we still create jobs every week,” he claimed, despite boycotts by major corporations.

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