Trump tells adoring central Pa. crowd he’ll win easily in 2020

“I think he’s done a lot more than any of the presidents he followed."

  • David Wenner, PennLive

(Montoursville) — The polls, and even his own advisors, suggest President Donald Trump faces a serious challenge in repeating his 2016 win in Pennsylvania.

Trump displayed not a hint of doubt. Not even as the very fact he was there, in full campaign mode, indicated he well understands the delicate balance in the state he won by less than one percent, or about 44,000 votes out of 6 million.

“How the hell do you lose this election?,” he said on Monday night to cheers from a vast, overflow audience at Williamsport Regional Airport, located about 100 miles north of Harrisburg.

Trump posed the question after taking full credit for record low unemployment and a record high stock market, and portraying it as a given it will only be more so come election day 2020. And he was just getting started.

“All over the country, we’re building plants and factories like never before,” he told the crowd. And beyond that the Democrats will be coming for their Second Amendment rights and seeking to double and triple their taxes and legalize late term abortion, he told them.

His audience, which cheered and numerous times broke into chants including “We love Trump,” seemed to need no convincing.

The rally took place in a Republican-dominated area that went strongly for Trump in 2016. Based on the many thousands who turned out, local enthusiasm for Trump hasn’t faded a bit.

Larry Etzel of Wellsboro said Trump has done an “extremely good” job, especially in terms of the economy.

“There is a job here for anybody who wants to work,” said Etzel, 71, who is retired from selling welding equipment and supplies. “Everyone that I know has nothing but good to say about Trump.”

Etzel was among the many who parked at a local mall and rode to the airport in one of the shuttles that filled and left airport every few minutes all day. Local schools closed for the day. At the airport, people stood for hours in a line that stretched hundreds of yards, with many not getting inside.

But there were speakers and a large TV screen outside the hanger where Trump spoke, and the vast parking lot was packed with people.

They raised cell phone cameras and held up children the moment Trump and Air Force One appeared above the long, green mountain that borders the airport.

“He’s doing as well as you can with everybody against him,” said Breatrice Taran, 78.

The official purpose of Trump’s visit was to support a Republican, Fred Keller, who is running for Congress in special election on Tuesday.

Evan Vucci / The Associated Press

President Donald Trump gestures to the crowd as he finishes speaking at a campaign rally, Monday, May 20, 2019, in Montoursville, Pa.

But it was clear during his hour-long appearance Trump is highly focused on his own 2020 race.

He even test-marketed an updated version of his famous “Make American Great Again” slogan, asking the audience to raise their voices if they would prefer “Keep American Great.”

“We’ve saved America. We’re making America great again and we’re gonna keep American great,” he said.

With the exception of former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump devoted few words to the Democratic candidates, other than to say “We have a lot of low energy people we’re competing against … They’re vicious, but they’re low energy.”

But he took plenty of digs at front runner Biden, including saying the Scranton native “deserted” Pennsylvania and, worse, supported decades of policies which Trump said said have devastated Pennsylvania manufacturing and its middle class. Again, more cheers.

“He’s going to save every country but ours,” Trump said of Biden.

A recent poll showed Biden with a sizable lead over Trump in a hypothetical election. Trump, as usual, ridiculed the polls.

Again, it was something he didn’t need to hammer home with his supporters.

“If the election three years ago taught us anything, it’s that polls are extremely inaccurate,” said Brian Swank, 36, of Shamokin. Swank said Trump has kept most if not all of his promises. That includes his promise to build a border wall, even through Swank says he never took the promise literally.

“I was never one of those build the wall fanatics. It’s about border security,” he said.

Discussing the border and immigration laws on Monday night, Trump told the crowd, “Our country is full,” drawing still more cheers.

“I think he’s done a lot more than any of the presidents he followed. He kept pretty much all his promises,” said Shawn Meskell, Jr., 30, who works at a Shop Vac plant.

While Trump talked like a 2020 win is a sure thing, he also made it clear he doesn’t expect to win the election without winning Pennsylvania, and won’t take that lightly.

“I’ll be here a lot. Gotta win this state,” he said.

He also revealed his plans for after that. “And then we’ll drive them crazy,” he said, referring to Democrats and the media and other detractors.

 

PennLive and The Patriot-News are partners with PA Post.

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