Trump’s home stretch campaign blitz draws large crowds in central Pennsylvania.
LITITZ, Pennsylvania – Drizzle, cold and short notice haven’t stopped several thousand people from participating in President Donald Trump’s campaign blitz in Pennsylvania, which is critical to his chances of re-election and where polls show it behind.
Trump spoke for nearly 90 minutes during the rally in the early afternoon at Lancaster Airport.
He accused the media of ignoring polls that favor him, saying the intention is to discourage his supporters from voting, and told them to ignore polls. “We have the spirit and the enthusiasm, which is the most important thing,” Trump said.
He said his 2016 campaign generated “the most enthusiasm ever,” although “there is far more enthusiasm now”.
Trump has railed against Democratic candidate Joe Biden, calling him responsible for the decades-long erosion of manufacturing jobs in Pennsylvania. Biden “has backed every horrible and ridiculous trade deal for over half a century,” Trump said, referring to Biden’s decades in the US Senate and eight years as vice president.
The President touted the tax cut passed by Congress with its blessing and the regulatory cuts.
“In my second term, we will cut taxes for the middle class even further,” said Trump, who added that “businesses are flocking to the United States.
Trump’s rally in central Pennsylvania was sandwiched between a rally held earlier Monday in Lehigh County and one scheduled hours later in Blair County.
His Pennsylvania blitz came as polls show Biden leading Trump both nationally and in Pennsylvania. Since the weekend, Biden has led Trump from 50.3% to 44.8% in Pennsylvania, based on the average of recent surveys compiled by FiveThirtyEight – almost the same as at the beginning of the month. The national poll average showed Biden leading 52% to 42.9%.
Pennsylvania, which Trump won with less than one percent in 2016, is seen as the most likely tipping state that will push Trump or Biden past the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election.
Pleasing his staunch Lancaster County supporters, Trump said the polls fail to capture some of those who support him, including those who are silent on their vote.
“Many of you are hidden voters,” Trump said.
Biden campaigned twice in Pennsylvania over the weekend, organizing smaller and socially distanced rallies and Bucks and Alfalfa counties.
In Lancaster County, Trump scoffed at the scale of Biden’s events and mocked him for quitting the election campaign for several days to prepare for last week’s debate.
Monday’s rallies in Pennsylvania also took place as the state faces its second major wave of COVID-19.
Pennsylvania reported more than 2,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and Saturday, with the 2,219 cases reported on Friday marking the highest number ever reported in one day in the state. The previous record of 1989 came on April 9.
About 1,100 people in Pennsylvania were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Sunday, more than double the amount at the end of September, according to Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 monitoring dashboard. As of Monday, 8,673 people died in Pennsylvania. Most are over 65.
In a statement released on Monday, Biden criticized Trump’s handling of the pandemic, saying it claimed lives and damaged Pennsylvania’s economy.
“As working families in Pennsylvania continue to struggle, President Trump has given tax breaks to large companies that ship jobs overseas and launched a reckless tariff war with China that has cost Pennsylvania jobs.” Biden said in the statement. “The working families of Lehigh, Lancaster and Blair counties deserve a president who will fight every day for their families, their health care and their jobs,” he said.
Biden said, if elected, “I will stop the virus and safely open the economy.”
Discussing the pandemic, Trump vowed that a vaccine would be available before the end of the year, although health officials doubted a vaccine would be widely available until 2021. Trump also touted his own recovery.
“Look, I have it and here I am,” he said to the cheers. Trump noted that First Lady Melania Trump as well as her youngest son Barron have also tested positive.
“I took Regeneron and the next morning I felt like Superman,” he said. Trump noted he had 12 doctors treating him, but jokingly said, “When you’re president you have a lot of doctors.”
Sue Beaver of Lancaster County said she was not worried about catching COVID-19 at the rally, which was outside but where people were sitting and standing shoulder to shoulder and most were not wearing no mask. It took place about three hours before the start of the rally.
“I am not afraid of COVID. It’s a bad case of the flu… You have to live. You can’t stay in your basement, ”the 60-year-old said.
Beaver said she came to the rally because “I never saw him. I can not wait.
She said she was worried in 2016 when she voted for Trump after initially supporting Ted Cruz. But Trump has achieved all his hopes. “He’s not a politician,” she said.
Larry Bruges from New Jersey drove nearly three hours to attend the rally.
The 57-year-old said he was not worried about catching COVID-19 during the rally. He likened the COVID-19 threat to walking around naked, saying it might make people uncomfortable, but wouldn’t hurt them.
Bruges said he jumped at the chance to “show his support” for Trump, who has not focused on non-battlefield states such as New Jersey.
When asked if the race was close and if Trump needed to catch up, he replied, “I think it’s lightly for Trump. I don’t think they are interviewing the right people.
Gary Eberly of Berks County said his goal was “to show support for our president and (share) camaraderie with like-minded people.” Everyone is courteous here. There are no thugs, no rioters.
Asked about Trump’s chances of victory, the 62-year-old referred to the 2016 polls, which he said “were totally wrong for the silent majority.”
He said Trump was in a difficult position, although he attributed this to incomplete reporting and a “media tour.”
He said Trump’s criticism of the media “only echoes how I have felt for many years.”
Trump hammered home Biden’s claims about fracking, saying “it will eradicate your energy (industry) and send Pennsylvania into a crippling depression,” and that during the debate, Biden “confirmed his plan to abolish the whole of the American oil industry ”.
Biden, while having to clarify his remarks several times, said he had no plans to ban fracking and even doubted it was possible. On the contrary, he cited targets for eliminating emissions from power plants in 15-30 years, eliminate subsidies for gas and coal; and ban “only new oil and gas permits, including hydraulic fracturing, on federal lands.”
Most hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania takes place on private land. Biden calls for a “transition” away from fossil fuels and towards clean energy, which he says will be a major source of well-paying jobs.
U.S. Representative Lloyd Smucker, of R-Lancaster County, was among local Republican officials who spoke before Trump. He told the public not to pay attention to the polls and the media, but to focus on Republicans’ recent progress in removing their voter registration disadvantage in the state.
Following a recent surge in Republican registrations, Pennsylvania’s 9,016,163 registered voters consist of 4,207,190 Democrats, 3,506,337 Republicans and 1,302,636 others, according to the Pennsylvania Capital-Star.
As Trump claimed himself the biggest tax cut ever, he accused Biden of planning the biggest tax hike on record.
Biden proposes to raise taxes for people earning more than $ 400,000 and close tax loopholes. He said those who earn $ 400,000 or less will not see a tax increase.
Biden would also increase the corporate tax rate to 28%, from 21%. It was 35% before Congress, with Trump’s blessing, lowered it in 2017. It would reduce the top personal tax rate to 39.6%, from 37%, which would apply to people earning more than about $ 518,000 and couples earning more than about $ 622,000, according to Marketwatch.
Trump has criticized and at times mocked various Democratic and Progressive politicians, including Gov. Tom Wolf and Bernie Sanders. He triggered boos when he mentioned Biden’s running mate Senator Kamala Harris, D-Calif. “She’s more liberal than crazy Bernie. Can you imagine? “, did he declare.
He said Biden and the Democrats wanted to extend the pandemic and shut down schools and businesses.
“It’s a choice between a Trump boom and a Biden lockdown,” he said of the Nov. 3 election, in just eight days.
Trump also took credit for restoring Christmas.
“Department stores didn’t like Merry Christmas. It was not politically correct… They learned, ”Trump said.
If Biden is elected, “the radical left will be in charge of the party,” according to Trump.
“We’re going to keep winning, winning, winning,” Trump said. “We did more than we promised. “