Oct. 13 (UPI) — President Donald Trump returned to well-worn themes of economic prosperity and attacked his opponent Joe Biden, asking for the votes of suburban women at a rally Tuesday night in Johnstown, Pa.
Since leaving the hospital after being infected with the coronavirus, Trump and his campaign have announced rallies in Florida, Iowa, Georgia and North Carolina.
Pennsylvania is a battleground state for Trump, who won in 2016 over Hilary Clinton by less than 1% of the vote, with a victory of 44,292 votes out of more than 6 million cast.
At the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport, Tuesday, Trump bragged that his health had returned since being treated for COVID-19, saying that he was now immune from the virus. He asked for a show of hands of people in the crowd who had been diagnosed with what he called the “China virus.”
“Yeah, a lot of people. A lot of people,” he said looking at the tightly packed crowd, which had been gathered for hours. About half did not wear masks.
Trump appeared more robust than he did at his rally Monday in Florida, and his remarks, which lasted more than an hour, were tighter and more coherent, attacking his rivals and touching on his campaign topics of building a border wall, strengthening the U.S. military and chastising China.
Trump also promised, in his second term, to put the “first woman on the moon” and “an American on Mars.”
Trump, who attended Philadelphia’s Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, promised voters that Pennsylvanians would soon return to prosperity through industries like manufacturing, coal mining and steel production.
“They’ll be saying to me, ‘Pennsylvania’s not used to winning this much, you gotta slow it down a little bit,'” Trump promised voters.
“You lost long enough! You lost your factories and your plants where you had stupid leadership, but you will be winning like never before,” Trump said.
In Pennsylvania, coal production has dropped by more than 57% in the past 12 years to 151 active mines producing 49.8 million tons in 2018, down from 266 mines producing 65.4 million tons, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Steel exports to China from Pennsylvania fell due to tariffs imposed during Trump’s trade wars, and steel companies were forced to idle their plants, laying off hundreds of workers.
But Trump threatened that economic pain would worsen under a Joe Biden administration.
“We will surrender our jobs to China,” Trump said. “China will own the United States if that sleepy guy gets the position.
“For half of a century, Biden twisted his blade into the great heart of the American worker, he shouldn’t be asking for your vote, he should be asking for forgiveness,” Trump said.
Trump also asked suburban women for their votes.
“Somebody said, ‘I don’t know if the suburban woman likes you,'” Trump told the audience.
He announced he would block “low-income housing” in the suburbs and stoked racial fears by invoking Black Democratic presidential candidate New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, calling him “that loser, he got one percent [of the vote],” and claiming that Booker would be the person in charge of filling suburbs with low income-housing under a Biden presidency.
“But I’m about law and order. I’m about having you safe,” Trump said. “Suburban women, will you please like me? I saved your damn neighborhood, OK?”