By Glenn Puitt
August 4, 2017 - Donald Trump focused on the economy and the middle class during a politically charged rally in Huntington, West Virginia Thursday, drawing cheers from thousands of avid supporters.
Trump took to the stage shortly after 7 p.m. and immediately spoke about the region’s coal industry. He said he’s committed to revitalizing the coal sector, which has lost thousands of jobs in the last decade. Trump cited recent economic statistics he said were showing his administration’s efforts are, in fact, bringing coal jobs back to the Tri-State.
“I’ve kept that promise,” Trump said. “As president we are putting our coal miners back to work. We’ve ended the war on beautiful, clean coal. We’ve stopped the EPA intrusion. American coal exports are already up more than 60 percent this year.”
Trump said the auto industry is showing strength with new auto jobs in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. He cited significant gains in the stock market and other economic numbers to make the case his administration has helped the economy grow.
“Economic growth has surged to 2.6 percent nationwide…3 percent growth in West Virginia,” Trump said. “West Virginia —you are leading the average. When was the last time you heard that?
“Don’t sell your homes,” Trump said. “Don’t sell your homes.”
Trump focused on political threads that helped launch him into office in 2016 in a speech wrapped in patriotism and faith. There was not an empty seat in the Big Sandy Superstore Arena as Trump spoke in downtown Huntington. He talked about lowering what he described as “the crushing tax burden” on business and individuals. He also talked about fighting what he described as “radical Islamic terrorists.”
“We only want to admit those into the country who love our people and share our values,” Trump said.
Trump told the crowd they can expect a significant announcement on upgrading America’s infrastructure.
“We are going to fix our roads and bridges, our highways our schools and airports,” Trump said. “We will create amazing monuments and inspire wonder and awe in all our people. “
Trump said “we have airports that look like third world countries. It’s not going to be that way anymore.”
Trump also addressed the political controversy over allegations he and members of his administration colluded with Russia to impact the presidential election. He mocked the claim, calling it a manufactured story by the “fake news.”
“Have you seen any Russians in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania?” Trump said. “ Are there any Russians here tonight? They (the Democrats) can’t beat you at the voting booths, so they are trying to cheat you out of what you want.
“The Russia story is a total fabrication,” Trump continued. “It s just an excuse for the greatest loss in the history of American politics.”
Trump said he’s committed to reform in Washington D.C.
“I didn’t come to Washington for me,” Trump said. “I came to Washington for all of you. Your dreams are my dreams. Your hopes are my hopes. And your future is what I’m fighting for each and every day.
“We don’t need advice from the Washington swamp,” Trump said. “We need to drain the swamp.”
Trump repeated a theme of representing the middle class time and again in his remarks. He said the administration’s agenda “rises above left or right. Its an agenda for all people.”
“Countless citizens, Democrat, Republican, Independent, have been neglected and ignored by Washington,” Trump said. “But we will make sure they are never ignored again. We know there are powerful forces in Washington who want to stop us but we won’t let them.
“We are fighting for every American who has been overlooked, pushed aside or told to put their dreams on hold,” Trump said. “But we will win and we are winning now.”
President Donald J. Trump holds a sign from a person in the full capacity crowd at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena for his rally. Photo by Kevin Goldy, The Daily Independent