Sun. May 26th, 2024
Trump rally today

Trump rally today

 The Garden State doesn’t often find itself in the national spotlight during a presidential election, but former President Donald Trump changed that by bringing his campaign to a rally held on a South Jersey beach near Pennsylvania on Saturday.

 Trump rally today

“As you can see today, we’re expanding the electoral maps because we are officially playing in the state of New Jersey. We’re going to win the state of New Jersey,” Trump declared to the crowd, standing on a stage with carnival rides as a backdrop. “Millions of people in so-called blue states are joining our movement based on love, intelligence, and a thing called common sense.”

 Trump rally today

Trump began Saturday’s rally more than an hour after his scheduled 5 p.m. start time and spoke for about 90 minutes. During his remarks, he touched on familiar topics such as his hush-money trial in New York, where adult film star Stormy Daniels testified this week about an alleged sexual encounter, which Trump has denied. He also repeated unfounded claims that the 2020 election was “rigged.”

Trump made several local references as well. He invited New Jersey GOP U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew on stage, praising him as a “star,” and took multiple jabs at former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and current Gov. Phil Murphy. He also stated that he would “stand up to radical Marxist DAs” like Larry Krasner, Philadelphia’s district attorney, who has faced significant criticism from Pennsylvania’s GOP.

A little over one mile away from Trump’s speech, TalkRadio 1210 WPHT Philadelphia, a conservative talk radio station, hosted a watch party at Mulligan’s Shore Bar and Grill. Rich Zeoli, afternoon host at the station, said that the crowd of about 200 people was evenly split between New Jersey and Pennsylvania residents.Trump rally today

He said Trump’s comments relating to the economy received the most positive response.

“I think when he talked about grocery prices, when he talked about the price of food, I think the economy is still the issue, I really do, more than anything,” Zeoli told the Capital-Star. “It’s going to be the issue that drives everybody.”

He added that Trump’s comments criticizing wind turbines also received a very positive reaction from the crowd, noting that it’s an energy-related issue relevant to both New Jersey residents and Pennsylvanians who vacation in the area.

Although Trump went through his usual stump speech at times, he made several references that he hasn’t made at past rallies in the Keystone State:

Trump has criticized mail-in voting over the past few years, but he urged those in attendance to embrace it, albeit still referring to it as “corrupt.” Trump mentioned that “election season” begins on September 16 due to early voting but added that if he wins a second term, he wants to implement one day of voting with paper ballots, proof of citizenship, and voter ID.

During Trump’s most recent visit to Pennsylvania one month ago, he made no mention of abortion. However, on Saturday, he thanked the six Supreme Court justices — three of whom he appointed — who ruled on the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade. He described abortion as a “very divided issue” but asserted that leaving the decision to the states is the correct approach.

Trump has frequently criticized Biden over his administration’s economic policies, but he focused extensively on this issue on Saturday. “On day one, we will throw out Bidenomics and reinstate MAGAnomics,” he declared. Trump also expressed disagreement with Biden’s commitment to phase out the 2017 tax reform legislation enacted during his administration. Biden has criticized Trump over this policy on the campaign trail in Pennsylvania.

 Trump rally today

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Trump lamented what he referred to as “riots” at his alma mater. However, on Friday morning, Philadelphia police disbanded a two-week-long encampment of pro-Palestinian protesters. While Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro called for the disbandment and described the situation as “out of control,” there were no reports of riots at the university.

With less than six months until the general election, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have made numerous visits to Pennsylvania. Over the past several weeks, Trump has largely been sidelined from campaigning due to the trial in New York.

Saturday marked Trump’s first rally in New Jersey in 2024, although he has campaigned in the state in previous cycles. In January 2020, Trump held a rally in Wildwood’s Convention Center and criticized Democrats for their efforts to impeach him.

Winning New Jersey is unlikely for Trump, according to national outlets like the Cook Political Report, which rates the state as “solid Democratic.” New Jersey has not voted for a Republican candidate for president since 1988, and Trump lost the state by double digits both times he was his party’s nominee for president.

However, an Emerson College poll conducted in late March, which matched Biden and Trump against each other, showed Biden only leading Trump by 7 points in New Jersey, with 15% of those polled undecided. When third-party candidates like Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Jill Stein, and Cornel West were included in the poll, Biden led Trump by 5 points. It remains uncertain which third-party candidates will make the ballot in New Jersey.

While New Jersey may not be a focal point for most pundits regarding the election, Wildwood is a popular destination for vacationers in the Philadelphia region. Trump’s rally is expected to attract attendees from the crucial Keystone State and garner media coverage from the market.

Zeoli told the Capital-Star that he believes holding the rally at the Jersey shore was a strategic move to encompass multiple media markets. He added that the location may have also been a gesture to thank Van Drew, who switched parties during the previous election cycle and supported Trump’s candidacy.

 Trump rally today

Trump’s most recent appearance in Pennsylvania was on April 13, when he attended a fundraiser in Bucks County and held a rally in the purple Lehigh Valley. He has visited Pennsylvania three times in 2024, including a surprise appearance in Philadelphia at Sneaker Con in February.

In the past week, Trump has conducted interviews with media outlets in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey markets, including a television interview with Harrisburg-based WGAL and radio interviews with TalkRadio 1210 WPHT Philadelphia and New Jersey 101.5.

Trump received some promising numbers this week in Pennsylvania, with polling conducted by AARP Pennsylvania and Muhlenberg College showing him with a slight lead over Biden. U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) also maintains his advantage over Republican challenger David McCormick.

Biden has visited Pennsylvania three times since Trump’s most recent appearance in the state, with campaign events in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Scranton. This brings the president’s total number of 2024 trips to the Keystone State to seven.

On Wednesday, Harris held a campaign event in the Philadelphia suburbs, where she was joined by actress and singer Sheryl Lee Ralph to discuss abortion and reproductive rights.

As of late April, Biden’s campaign has opened 24 coordinated campaign offices across Pennsylvania, including in red areas like York and Lancaster. Trump doesn’t appear to have any Pennsylvania campaign offices open yet, although his campaign leadership has recently said it prefers to run a “leaner” operation than in past campaigns.

Ahead of Trump’s Saturday visit, the Biden campaign held a call with reporters on Friday, featuring New Jersey Democratic Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill. She blasted Trump’s business record in New Jersey.

“I suspect that when Trump holds that rally in Wildwood, you will see a lot of people coming from outside our state because here inside our state, we know that Trump filed for bankruptcy five times,” Sherrill said. “That he really undermined the economic viability of Atlantic City, that he didn’t pay workers, he didn’t pay contractors, he had small businesses going out of business because of his failed promises.”

And if there was any doubt the audience was largely from Philadelphia and its surrounding counties, it was most notable when Trump welcomed former New York Giants Lawrence Taylor and Ottis Anderson at the rally. Multiple “E-A-G-L-E-S” Eagles chants broke out in the crowd while the former players were on stage.

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