LATROBE, Pa. — Former President Donald Trump traveled to Westmoreland County on Saturday to speak in support of the Republican candidates he has endorsed for Pennsylvania’s key midterm elections.
The slogan “Trump won” was plastered on signs, flags and memorabilia at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, a reference to the belief that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.
Trump pointed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s recent ruling that undated mail-in ballots should not be counted, but he lamented that the ruling was not effective in 2020 when he lost to Joe Biden.
“We beat this guy so much,” he said. “The election was rigged, and now our country is being destroyed.”
He said the nation is no longer “energy dominant like we were two years ago, and we have record inflation.”
Now three days away from the midterm elections, Trump has excited crowds of protesters in Latrobe by toying with the announcement of his 2024 plans.
“I want the focus to be on Doug and Oz,” he said. “We’re going to take back the Senate; We’re going to take back America.
“And in 2024 we will take over the White House and you will hear about it very, very soon.”
Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, a state senator, helped lead an unsuccessful effort to nullify the 2020 presidential election in favor of Trump.
“Doug opposed COVID lockdowns and mandates,” Trump said. “And he boldly defended the integrity of the election.”
If elected governor, Mastriano said he wants tougher voter ID policies and an audit of Pennsylvania’s voter registration system.
Mastriano took the stage with Trump, praising the former president for his low inflation and energy independence during his presidency.
“On day one, when I’m governor, we’ll be drilling and digging like never before,” he said.
“If you want to keep your jobs, you have to vote for Mastriano. All masking of job requirements is over forever in Pennsylvania,” he said, to applause. “No more critical racial theories in our schools. Day one ‘wake up’ is broke; no more sex games or pronoun games with our kids at school.”
Dr. Mehmet Oz, a Republican candidate for a US Senate seat from Pennsylvania, had his own daytime television program, “The Dr. Oz Show,” for 13 seasons before moving from New Jersey to Pennsylvania to run for the Senate.
Oz Democratic opponent John Fetterman, incumbent Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania, pointed to the fact that Oz left New Jersey to qualify for the Pennsylvania Senate seat that would be vacated by the retired Republican senator Pat Toomey.
“Oz told me he liked the people of the Commonwealth,” Trump said. “He will stop the spending spree in Washington and support our police.”
When Oz addressed the crowd before Trump arrived, he said he would be a unifying member of the Senate.
“I’m not a politician, I’m a surgeon,” he said. “We’re tackling the big problems by making sure we unify people in the operating room, the same thing will work for our nation. … I believe we can have a budget that works, a comprehensive energy policy, safe cities streets and communities, securing the border – but allowing legal immigration.And if we do it together, we will win big on Tuesday.
Men and women with hard hats marched in bleachers near the podium. Before the rally began, Bryan K. Payne said he and thousands of others lost their jobs when Biden canceled the Keystone pipeline. Payne said he was employed by natural gas company MarkWest until cutbacks were made.
“We’re here to show that Pennsylvania is for fracking,” he said.
While addressing a myriad of issues, Trump repeatedly referred to the 2020 election as “rigged.”
Westmoreland County was among the areas Trump won hands down in 2020, with around 64% of the vote. The state as a whole went to President Joe Biden by a narrow margin.
“On Tuesday, we need a landslide victory so Biden and the radical left can’t fake it or steal it,” he said.
Trump’s appearance in Latrobe comes about two weeks after the Democratic-led House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot subpoenaed him for testimony.
The committee held nine hearings with evidence, including testimony from Trump’s own appointees and staff, that Trump orchestrated an attempt to obstruct the peaceful transition of presidential power to Biden in several ways.
The subpoena sent to Trump on Oct. 21 said the hearings provided evidence that he oversaw efforts including “deliberately disseminating false allegations of fraud related to the 2020 election, pressuring officials of state and lawmakers to change the election results in their states, and summoning tens of thousands of supporters to Washington and knowing they were angry and some armed, sending them to the Capitol on the day where the electoral votes were counted during the January 6 joint session of Congress.
Trump, on his social media, lambasted committee members for not asking him sooner and called the committee a “total crisis.”
On Saturday, he said the committee should be more concerned about the integrity of the election.
“This election is your chance to stand up against the tyranny of the radical left,” he said.
He surveyed the crowd, saying there were “tens of thousands of people. As far as the eye could see.”
“I think these gatherings are more important than they’ve ever been,” he said. “People want hope and change.”
Dana Wise, 35, of Pittsburgh, said she was thrilled to attend the rally. It would be his third appearance at a Trump event. She soaked it up, feeling at home with others who, like her and her husband, may have been fired for not wearing masks or receiving the COVID-19 vaccine under the Biden administration. .
Her first Trump rally was for the 2020 election — “The election that was supposedly stolen,” she said.
She was also at the “Stop the Steal” rally on January 6 at the Capitol.
“There’s been corruption in the system for a long time, and I think Trump called it out,” she said.
She said she could understand how people could have entered the Capitol with others, but she didn’t go, she said.
“People on the sidelines were screaming for people to come into the Capitol,” she said.
She said the “Stop the Steal” rally was a time of peaceful prayer and chanting “God Bless America” until tear gas was fired.
“The people inside the Capitol and what they were doing in the building, I think was totally wrong,” she said.
Wise, a former lunch lady in a public school district, said she was fired for not wearing a mask during COVID-19 protocol.
“Freedom is something to fight for,” she said. “If we let him go, he will disappear forever.”
Her husband, Shane Chesher, 35, said he was fired from his job as a union worker in Allegheny County for not getting the vaccine and said he believes the current administration will not did not represent the interests of ordinary people.
He too was at the Capitol on January 6.
“It was a beautiful day gone wrong,” he said. “Spoiled by bad actors.”
The slogan “Trump won” was plastered on signs, flags and memorabilia, including the shirt worn by Gregg Smyth of Boco Raton, Florida.
Smyth – neither a Republican nor a Democrat – said he expects Trump to run for president again in 2024, although he said he is currently expected to be in the White House.
“When you deal with the swamp, they all shoot it,” he said. “As far as Republicans and Democrats go, that’s the swamp he was going to drain.”
He pulled out his phone to show the Tribune-Democrat photos from the Jan. 6 rally. He was on the Capitol steps, he said.
“It was like going with fans of your favorite sports team,” he said. “There were real patriots there.”
He believes the violent actors were planted.
Besides that problem, voters, including Smyth, are motivated to vote, believing their candidates will have the right response to record high inflation, he said.
“I’m tired of people fighting gas prices, food prices,” Smyth said.