President Trump met with supporters and held a “Make America Great Again” rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, Wednesday, hours after Hurricane Michael made landfall on the Florida Panhandle. This was Mr. Trump’s second rally this week, as he fulfills his promise to campaign for Republicans around the country ahead of the Nov. 6 midterm elections.
Mr. Trump had considered postponing his trip due to the hurricane, but told reporters that thousands were probably already lined up for the event in Pennsylvania, so he would go. He also tweeted about not wanting to disappoint the attendees of his rally by canceling.
After the rally, Mr. Trump tweeted that there was a “massive overflow crowd” in Erie.
Mr. Trump earlier said he would visit areas affected by the storm later this week.
At the rally on Wednesday, Mr. Trump said that “all of Pennsylvania, all of America, sends its unwavering love and support” to states under siege from Hurricane Michael. “We just want to wish them all the best, and godspeed, and God bless you all — it’s a bad one,” Mr. Trump said, adding that the government would “spare no resources” in the aftermath of the storm.
The president hit familiar beats in his rally Wednesday, encouraging voters to turn out by primarily focusing on his administration’s victories and warning about potential rule by Democrats. He also tailored some of his common themes to Pennsylvania voters, saying that “we’re putting our coal miners back to work, we’re putting our steelworkers back to work.” He also criticized Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, who is up for re-election this year.
“If you want to save American lives, and save American jobs…then you need to vote for a pro-American patriot named Lou Barletta,” Mr. Trump said, referring to Casey’s Republican opponent.
The president also recounted his 2016 in vivid detail, going through his wins state by state, including Pennsylvania. He said that Pennsylvania was like the “person who got away” for Republicans before he won the state. He said that under “the rules of Me Too” he could not use another expression to describe the state.
The president held a rally in, on Tuesday. At this rally he touted his administration’s decision to allow fuel containing 15 percent ethanol to be produced year round, a boon to corn-producing states such as Iowa. Mr. Trump also criticized Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, for holding up Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, prompting cheers of “Lock her up!” from the rally audience.
Mr. Trump visited, in early August to campaign for Barletta, an early Trump supporter. The CBS News Battleground Tracker rates this race as “likely Democrat.” The rally in Erie supported Barletta and Rep. Mike Kelly, whose district encompasses the rally site. Kelly’s district is solidly Republican, but Democrats have been emboldened by Democrat Conor Lamb’s victory, also in a rural republican district in Pennsylvania.
Mr. Trump brought Kelly to the stage during his rally. He emphasized what he had in common with the president, adding that they both “married up,” referring to their wives. He also called Mr. Trump “the strongest president we have seen in our lifetime” before initiating a chant of “USA,” and then praised the president for presiding over the “resurrection” of the country.
Barletta also spoke during the rally, hitting on cultural touchstones such as NFL players protesting police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem. “We are going to kneel when we pray and stand for the flag,” he said.
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