Yeah, he said it.

Trump’s Wilmington rally last week was ostensibly for the MAGA movement, but was actually a rally for Rep. Ted Budd, who has avoided the spotlight in our state even as he runs for what may be the most important open Senate seat in the country right now, right here, in North Carolina.

The rally was all kinds of awful, with thousands of assholes approaching near ecstasy as Trump railed against the New York attorney general who is suing him for fraud while creepy, QAnon music washed over their outstretched arms — which they insist, was definitely not a Nazi salute.

But the worst of it — which is saying a lot when it comes to Trump — was his allusion to the “N-word” during his comments. He insisted that he meant “nuclear,” though that didn’t stop many in attendance from shouting the other N-word at that point in his 90-minute speech.

The N-word. At a political rally for a white guy who is running against a woman of color for a seat that could upend the balance of the Senate.

This is Budd’s game plan: a race to the bottom.

Budd has unapologetically reaffirmed his alliance with the disgraced former president, even as other candidates have backed off amid mounting lawsuits, the Congressional investigation and growing distaste for the man who believes he can declassify documents just by thinking about them.

Remember, as a House rep, Budd voted to overturn the 2020 election, claiming “irregularities and Constitutional violations” in NC, even after Trump won the state. And he’s sticking to his guns, hoping to tap into the cynicism that has bubbled up from the depths of our national psyche like an infection.

Just last week, he signed on as co-sponsor for a House bill that would criminalize all abortions after 15 weeks, nationwide.

A reminder: These are extremely unpopular positions. More than 60 percent of Americans think abortion should be legal in just about all cases. More than half of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Trump — 54 percent, compared to 43 percent who favor him. And nobody we know would even stand in the same room as someone who likes to throw around the N-word.

More than half — 50.12 percent — of NC voters are women. Just about 20 percent are Black. How does Budd expect to win these voters over?

He probably doesn’t. He’s made his decision and he’s sticking with his guns. Whatever happens, the man who voted to overturn the 2020 election has already shown that he may not accept the election results this time, either.

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