Despite his campaign charge to “Make North Carolina the Nation’s No.1 Military-Friendly State,” gubernatorial candidate Dan Forest is remaining silent amid the Pentagon’s recent announcement that it intends to slash $223 million from the Marine Corps F-35 program to bankroll the president’s wall at the Southern border.
The F-35 program – which builds fighter jets used by many branches of the military – plays a key role in supporting the North Carolina economy. As of 2019, the F-35 program employed over 4,000 jobs at Fleet Readiness Center East, the largest industrial employer in Eastern NC.
In September 2019, Forest attempted to place himself squarely on the side of North Carolina military families, stating “under a Forest administration, North Carolina won’t just talk about being military friendly. We’re going to prove it.”
Yet, Forest has continued to cheer on President Trump, going as far as to call the border wall a “top priority” of his gubernatorial campaign, even as North Carolina lost millions due to its ongoing construction.
According to The News & Observer, NC lost upwards of $47 million in 2019 due to Trump’s border wall emergency declaration, including $15.3 million originally budgeted to build a new ambulatory care center for service members in Camp Lejeune.
Forest is currently vying for the GOP nomination for NC Governor.