In a rare joint appearance, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence held a campaign rally Thursday in Cincinnati, one of the first official campaign events in Ohio for the 2020 election.
“We’re doing good, it’s great to be back in this state I love,” President Trump said at U.S. Bank Arena.
Trump focused on military strength and the economy in the speech.
The president criticized Democrats for what he calls “their support for open borders.”
“They put foreign citizens before American citizens,” President Trump said of Democrats.
Before Trump took the stage, Vice President Pence focused on the importance of Ohio in the 2020 election. No Republican has ever won the White House without winning in Ohio.
Watch complete Trump campaign rally:
“We’re here for one reason only. Ohio and America need four more years of President Donald Trump in the White House,” Pence said. “It’s time for round 2, Ohio.”
This is the 29th rally Trump has had in Ohio. President Trump won Ohio by 8 points in 2016, but a recent poll by Quinnipiac University shows the president behind or nearly tied with the top Democratic candidates. The poll shows former Vice President Joe Biden leading President Trump in Ohio by eight points.
Pence made clear the campaign message will focus on positive economic numbers.
“Our agenda is simple, jobs, jobs, jobs,” Pence said. “Prosperity is back again, confidence is back again,” Pence said.
Voices in the crowd
June McQueen from Hamilton says this is her second time seeing the president.
She said the economy and health care are the issues she cares most about. “He seems to be doing great on both,” McQueen said.
Trump’s visit comes the day after the last Democratic candidates debate in Detroit.
“What we’ve seen out of the Democratic debates the last two nights is a stark contrast of what he’s been trying to accomplish,” Eric Hainline of West Carrollton said.
Robyn McGrail was celebrating her 44th wedding anniversary with husband Mike by attending their third Trump rally. She says if the chant begins, she’ll probably cheer because she loves her country and if they “don’t like America, they should leave.”
Hundreds of people are shouting “Resist!” in responses to a speaker’s bullhorn call to “Dump Trump!” in a demonstration a couple of blocks from the arena.
People assembled Thursday at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center an hour before the president’s event.
Other Ohio Democrats spoke out against Trump on Thursday.
“Donald Trump has made big promises to the people of Ohio, and he has broken nearly every one,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper. “From Lordstown to Cincinnati and every point in between, Donald Trump keeps making promises to the people of Ohio. Time and time again, he keeps breaking those promises, and working Ohioans are paying the price.”
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohi0, criticized the president for his infrastructure promises including getting money for the Brent Spence Bridge which carries I-75 and I-71 across the Ohio River from Cincinnati to Kentucky.
“President Trump made a lot of promises to Ohio workers and families, but he has failed to deliver on those promises,” Brown said. “The President promised to fix the Brent Spence Bridge, to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure projects and to support American workers. Instead, we’ve seen a President who has betrayed workers by pursuing policies — like his $1.5 trillion tax bill — that favor the wealthy and big corporations over working families.”
President does not criticize congresswomen during Cincinnati event
President Trump dialed down his criticism of four liberal congresswomen of color during during the Cincinnati rally.
In doing so, he avoided a repeat of the North Carolina rally two weeks ago, when the crowd chanted, "Send her back!" regarding Somali-born Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.
Trump had said going into the Cincinnati rally that he didn't know what he would do if the crowd began that chant again.
Trump on Thursday did not mention Omar or her three colleagues by name in the opening moments.
Trump did say “the Democrat Party is now being led by four left-wing extremists who reject everything that we hold dear." Trump was referring to Omar and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
President touts trade policies with China
President Trump is touting his trade policies with China at a campaign rally in Cincinnati after announcing earlier in the day that he would impose a 10% tariff on the remaining $300 billion in Chinese imports he hasn't already taxed.
Trump said Thursday that for the last two decades, China has taken hundreds of billions of dollars out of the U.S. He says, "We're stopping the theft of American jobs."
Trump says he believes China wants to make a new trade deal but he says he thinks China would prefer to wait for the results of the next presidential election.
The president says, "They would like to see a new president in a year and a half so they could continue to rip off the United States like they've been doing for the last 25 years."
Trump's threats on China rattled the stock markets earlier in the day.
Some Reds fans use team’s cap as MAGA substitute
For some of President Trump’s fans, there was no need to buy any of the bright-red “Make America Great Again” hats being hawked by vendors around the site of Thursday night’s rally.
They just put on their hometown Cincinnati Reds baseball team’s caps.
Scott Bippus of Hamilton wore a Reds cap with a flag design, saying it worked out well for the rally. His 18-year-old son, Christian, has soured on the recently struggling Reds and bought a MAGA cap.
Anti-Trump demonstrator Gary Skitt is among fans shunning their favorite team’s red caps. He wore a cap that was half-white and a duller red than the team’s official cap. He says he stopped wearing his bright-red cap when friends asked if he had “gone to the other side.”
Jeremy Ratliff of WHIO Radio and Jonathan Lemire and Dan Sewell of The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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