GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump made his first trip back to Ohio since the primary. He went to Belmont County, where his campaign against a global economy played well back in March and continued to play well last night.
Trump had plenty of lines that drew cheers – building a wall, dishonest reporters, water-boarding suspected terrorists. But his chief target was trade deals – a red flag for a region whose steel and coal industries are struggling.
“NAFTA was one of the worst, maybe the worst agreements in the history of this country in terms of trade, in terms of losing our manufacturing. WTO was bad. NAFTA was a disaster.”
Trump’s criticism of global trade struck a chord with Linda Riley, who traveled to St. Clairsville from nearby Wheeling, W.Va., where Weirton Steel went bankrupt.
“My dad was a steelworker, my brother was a steelworker. Bad trade deals have screwed up steel.”
Trump’s speech to about 3,000 people followed one in western Pennsylvania in which he outlined tariffs and other punishments he said he’d impose on countries that cheat on trade.
The presumptive Republican nominee spoke from a script for a while, starting his 45-minute speech with a list of Ohio job and poverty statistics. But some of the loudest cheers from the crowd greeted his repetition of one of his earliest campaign promises.
“Many people in Ohio have been severely victimized by illegal immigrants. You know that. Well we’re going to build a wall, don’t worry. We’re going to build a wall. We’re going to build a wall."
The crowd picked up the chant: "Build the wall! Build the wall!"
Trump also pledged to rebuild the military and defeat ISIS.