Trump pledges to restore coal and steel during Harrisburg rally
Marking his 100th day in office with a rally in Harrisburg, President Donald Trump told a cheering crowd he was glad to be back in the “wonderful, beautiful state of Pennsylvania,” which he called “special” for carrying him to victory in November.
To the applause of a crowd that filled the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex to the rafters, Trump said he has brought “profound change” to Washington. Saying that his only allegiance was to the people, he reiterated campaign pledges to restore manufacturing and reinvigorate the coal industry, noting no state more than Pennsylvania has felt the sting of those declining industries.
The message resonated with the audience, which chanted, “USA, USA.”
Before heading to Harrisburg, the president stopped at the Ames tool factory in Camp Hill, which has been making shovels since 1774. There he signed an executive order directing the Commerce Department to study U.S. trade agreements to determine whether America is being treated fairly by its trading partners and the 164-nation World Trade Organization.
“Our directives will put brand, new Pennsylvania steel into the spine of America,” he said at the rally.
His administration, the president added, “ended the war on beautiful, clean coal and we are putting our coal miners back to work.”
He warmed up with a 10-minute barrage on the media, suggesting that they should be given “a big, fat, failing grade” for the first 100 days of coverage of his administration.
Trump scheduled the rally on the same night he boycotted the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in Washington, D.C., to protest what he sees as the media’s unfavorable coverage of his administration.
Telling the crowd he was thrilled to be more than 100 miles from Washington Saturday night, Trump pointed out the reporters in the back of auditorium, drawing a chorus of boos. The booing continued when he referred to CNN and other media outlets as reporting “fake news.” Throughout his speech, he returned repeatedly to the media, saying they were part of a “broken system.”
Playing to his base, Trump criticized Democrats in Congress, calling Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York “a bad leader” who “wants to raise your taxes to the roof.” And he issued a warning to Republican congress members, including some from Pennsylvania who have backed him. Get behind his plans, Trump said, or he will be angry.
Above the thundering applause, Trump shouted, “Is there anything like a Trump rally?”
The anit-immigration message was what Margie Niedzielski, 55, a registered nurse from Audubon, Montgomery County, came to hear.
“I like the fact he’s going to build a wall and get rid of criminal illegal aliens,” she said.
For Ryan Traynor a state worker from nearby West Hanover, Dauphin County, the rally was a chance to hear more about Trump’s job and trade proposals.
“I like his economic message,” he said.
Becky Gee drove more than five hours after her shift as an Ohio dairy farm worker to become one of the first people in line, arriving at 4:30 a.m. to get a glimpse of a man she admires.
“He gave up a life of ease to help the American people,” she said.
Both inside and outside the complex, detractors protested.
Outside, Bruce Fealk of Michigan donned an oversized Trump head and prison attire to show his displeasure with the president.
“He’s here to celebrate his 100 days of ‘success’ and I don’t think he’s had any. He hasn’t produced for his supporters.”
Inside, nearly a dozen protesters were ushered out, including one who was wrestled to the ground by police.
Neil Makhija, a former Democratic state House candidate from Carbon County, was pushed and shoved by a few men until a state trooper intervened.
Makhija said the men mistakenly thought he was with a group of hecklers. But, Makhija said he was just listening to the president.
“I have no idea,” why they did that, he said. “I didn’t vote for him but he’s still my president.”
In his three months in office, Trump’s policy and political wins include an early stock market jump due to his pro-business stances and the Senate confirming his Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Trump signed a slew of executive orders slashing environmental and business regulations to try to spur the economy and withdrew the country from a Pacific trade agreement.
But Trump’s batting average is well below the political Mendoza Line due to big league strike-outs in attempts to enact key campaign promises involving health care and immigration.
He whiffed in trying to get the Republican-controlled House to vote several times on a GOP bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He could go down swinging again if or when Congress votes on his newly released plan to streamline and reduce taxes while eliminating deductions, which economists say will benefit the richest Americans and raise the national debt by trillions of dollars.
Federal courts have struck down Trump’s executive orders banning travel from some majority-Muslim countries and trying to withhold federal funds from states and local governments that do not fully enforce federal immigration law.
That record garnered Trump a 54 percent disapprove rating and 34 percent approval rating among Pennsylvanian voters, a Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll found. The poll, released Friday, found his approval split along party lines with 70 percent of Republicans and 11 percent of Democrats giving him passing grades.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
President Trump has accomplished 10 of the 38 promises made in his 100-day “contract” with voters.” Here are the statuses of some of those promises:
•Has appointed a Supreme Court justice.
•Has withdrawn the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
•Has lifted Obama’s roadblocks on the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines and initiated a review of the Clean Power Plan
••Has not pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord
•Has not put a 35 percent tariff on goods from companies that ship production abroad.
•Has not been successful in getting Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Source: The Associated Press
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