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Politics

Trump touts GOP hopeful, tariffs at rally in Pennsylvania

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    ‘Steel is back. And aluminum is back,’ President Trump boasted during a campaign rally in suburban Pittsburgh for Republican Congressional candidate Rick Saccone.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

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    Republican Rick Saccone, talks with reporters in Pittsburgh. Mr. Saccone is running against Democrat Conor Lamb in a special election Tuesday for the Congressional District vacated by Republican Tim Murphy.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

CORAOPOLIS, Pa. — President Trump visited near Pittsburgh on Saturday night to tout his recently imposed steel tariffs, his administration’s job-creation record, his brinkmanship with North Korea, and his 2016 election victory.

He also had some nice things to say about state Rep. Rick Saccone, a Republican who is in a tight special-election race in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District.

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‘Steel is back. And aluminum is back,’ President Trump boasted during a campaign rally in suburban Pittsburgh for Republican Congressional candidate Rick Saccone.

ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

“I need people who can help me,” Mr. Trump said during his 75-minute address to a near-capacity crowd at an aircraft hangar. “And this guy can really help me: Rick Saccone. And he’s got a tough race.” Mr. Trump easily won the district, but said, “It’s a crazy time out there.”

Mr. Trump also took shots at the Democratic candidate, Conor Lamb, who Mr. Trump bestowed with the nickname “Lamb the Sham.”

“He’s trying to act like a Republican,” said Mr Trump, but he contended Mr. Lamb “won’t give me a single vote.”

The special election on Tuesday is to replace Republican Rep. Tim Murphy, who resigned last year amid revelations of an extramarital affair in which the anti-abortion lawmaker urged his mistress to get an abortion when he thought she was pregnant.

Much of the President’s speech amounted to a victory tour in which Mr. Trump, standing before enthusiastic supporters, praised tariffs he imposed last week.

“They’re opening a lot of the steel mills up because of what I did,” he said. “Steel is back and aluminum is back too.”

Mr. Trump’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, which he formally announced on Thursday, have received considerable attention in a district with an estimated 17,000 steelworkers and almost 90,000 voters from union households.

“Not all of our friends on Wall Street love it, but we love it,” Mr. Trump said of the tariffs.

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Republican Rick Saccone, talks with reporters in Pittsburgh. Mr. Saccone is running against Democrat Conor Lamb in a special election Tuesday for the Congressional District vacated by Republican Tim Murphy.

ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

Mr. Saccone and Mr. Lamb have offered qualified endorsements of the tariffs.

Mr. Trump had tough words for potential Democratic foes in 2020, calling Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas” and saying of possible candidate Oprah Winfrey, “I know her weakness.”

The President seemed especially ebullient, and his visit came after an eventful week. In addition to the tariff rollout, his White House was buoyed by a stronger-than-expected jobs report, which Mr. Trump lauded repeatedly. He has also broached the possibility of meeting with the leadership of North Korea to resolve long-simmering nuclear tensions.

“Lots of good things, I think, are going to happen,” he said. “But we’ll see. … I think they want to make. Peace. I think it’s time, and I think we’ve shown great strength.”

The President ranged over other familiar topics, suggesting — as he has before — that he was open to the death penalty for drug offenders.

By contrast, he said, Democrats “are the party of sanctuary cities. … They like to protect criminals, they like to protect MS-13,” a Central American gang that features heavily in Republican concerns about immigration.

Mr. Trump also said he has decided on a slogan for his 2020 re-election campaign.

He said if he runs again — which is “almost positive” — he can’t use his “Make America Great Again” tag line.

The new slogan will be “Keep America great!” with an exclamation point, Mr. Trump said at the rally.

Before Saturday night’s rally, Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter about his upcoming talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“North Korea has not conducted a missile test since November 28, 2017, and has promised not to do so through our meetings. I believe they will honor that commitment!” he wrote.

The President’s comments aligned with what a South Korean official had said Thursday about the possible talks.

Information from The Blade’s news services was used in this report. 

The Block News Alliance consists of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Chris Potter is a reporter for the Post-Gazette. Contact him at: cpotter@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2533.

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