Trump Rally in Pennsylvania Aims at Denting ‘Blue Wall’

Two days before facing a trial in New York, the former president is holding a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, a possible key to a presidential win.

Many fans—and at least a few protesters—are expected Saturday at President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.

At a rally in Schnecksville, a community of about 4,000 people, “I expect a boisterous and happy crowd to see the president,” Kevin Dellicker, a Republican congressional candidate for Pennsylvania’s seventh district, told The Epoch Times.

“I’ll be there myself with many of my supporters,” Mr. Dellicker said, adding that his Republican rivals, Maria Montero, and Ryan Mackenzie, are also expected to attend.

President Trump is scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. ET. He lost the state and the presidency in 2020 but won both in 2016; Pennsylvania sometimes is considered part of the “blue wall,” a collection of states that Democrats often win.

This time around, “I think Trump is very strong in the Lehigh Valley,” the area surrounding the rally site, the Schnecksville Fire Company Fairgrounds, Mr. Dellicker said.

However, a small group of protesters is planning to show up with banners, too, an organizer told The Epoch Times.

Mr. Dellicker, a longtime resident of Lehigh Valley, said the region represents a microcosm of America, encompassing vibrant cities, small towns, struggling rural areas, and wealthy suburbs.

“There are two reasons why candidates come here so much: It really does look like America. And it’s key to winning Pennsylvania,” he said.

The Lehigh Valley will play an important role in “propelling President Trump to victory in a close election,” Mr. Dellicker said, adding, “I think he appeals to blue-collar Democrats.”

If the Republican former president draws a significant percentage of those voters, that will deliver a blow to President Joe Biden, 81, a Democrat who grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, about an hour’s drive north of Schnecksville. The incumbent president has scheduled a three-visit campaign swing in Pennsylvania next week, hitting Scranton, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia.

President Trump, 77, is holding the Schnecksville rally two days before he is scheduled to face a historic “hush money” criminal trial in New York, where he lived for most of his life.

His visit to Pennsylvania also falls 10 days before the voters will cast ballots in the state’s primary election. Because President Trump and President Biden have already clinched their respective party’s nomination, the Keystone State’s presidential primary is somewhat of a formality.

A Close Race So Far

But it still could be considered a measure of supporters’ enthusiasm—or lack thereof—in Pennsylvania, which is among a handful of “swing states” that could decide the presidential election on Nov. 5.

In Pennsylvania, President Biden holds a slight edge over President Trump, a fraction of a percentage point, according to the RealClearPolitics (RCP) average of opinion polls.

But a just-released Big Data Poll suggests that President Trump could be pulling ahead in Pennsylvania. In a hypothetical head-to-head contest, the former president was attracting about 46 percent of the vote, more than 5 percentage points higher than President Biden.

Nationally, President Trump was holding a sliver of an advantage over President Biden, RCP says. But nearly all the polls are within the margin of error, making the race a statistical tie.

Reactions Sparked

In advance of the April 13 Schnecksville rally, supporters and critics of the former president were sounding off.

Mr. Dellicker is a 28-year veteran of the U.S. armed forces; he has endorsed President Trump and says he supports the former president’s “America First” policies, based on the principle that America should act in its own best interests before aiding other nations.

But a group of military vets oppose the former president. Clyde Gunter, spokesman for a group called Common Defense, told The Epoch Times in an email that he expects six to eight protesters to come to the venue. On its website, the group calls itself “the largest grassroots membership organization of progressive veterans.”

Mr. Gunter opined that President Trump “has disparaged veterans and service members,” a media advisory said. While the release cited no specifics, President Trump was roundly criticized in 2015 for remarks about former Sen. John McCain’s history as a prisoner of war. Since then, he has denied making other purported comments on the military that stirred controversy.

Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung told The Epoch Times: “There has been no bigger advocate for our military and veterans than President Trump.”

According to a list of his administration’s accomplishments, President Trump revamped the Department of Veterans Affairs to improve healthcare for military veterans and “decreased veteran homelessness, improved education benefits, and achieved record-low veteran unemployment.”

“Contrast that with the disrespect Crooked Joe Biden has shown our military men and women, including his botched withdrawal in Afghanistan that led to unnecessary deaths,” Mr. Cheung said.

But the Biden administration and Democrats allege President Trump signed an agreement that set the stage for the disastrous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan in August 2021. Suicide bombings killed nearly 200 people, including 13 American service members, and the United States left behind more than $7 billion worth of military equipment.


Mr. Gunter’s statement also decried President Trump’s agenda as “extreme,” echoing a term that many Democrats, including Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, have lobbed at President Trump.

“This weekend, Donald Trump is coming to our Commonwealth to continue pushing his extreme agenda to control women’s bodies and take away Pennsylvanians’ freedoms,” Mr. Shapiro said in a statement that the Biden-Harris campaign posted on social media.

Mr. Shapiro denounced the former president’s abortion stance. President Trump has said that abortion should not be a guaranteed right at the federal level. Rather, he agrees with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that individual U.S. states should regulate that procedure.

The governor also takes issue with President Trump’s challenge to the 2020 election results in Pennsylvania and other states; Mr. Shapiro said that was an effort to  “destroy our democracy.”

But President Trump and his allies flip that script. They allege that Democrats are “weaponizing” America’s justice system by investigating and prosecuting political enemies, including President Trump. He and his supporters allege that “lawfare” is being waged to keep President Trump stuck in courtrooms instead of hitting the campaign trail.

John Haughey and Jackson Richman contributed.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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