Columbus — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump slammed his Democratic counterpart Aug. 1, telling an audience of supporters in Ohio’s capital city that he would renegotiate trade deals in the country’s favor and bring jobs back to the state and the rest of the country.
“Ohio has lost one in three manufacturing jobs since Bill Clinton signed NAFTA…,” Trump said. “Hillary Clinton’s disastrous trade policies are responsible for the manufacturing job losses in Ohio and throughout the other states… I just want to bring back your jobs, bring back your safety.”
He added, “They call it the Rust Belt for a reason, because everything’s rusting and rotting. You lost your jobs, they’re moving to Mexico… We are going to turn this state into a manufacturing behemoth. We’re going to bring your jobs back.”
Trump also touted his campaign fund-raising efforts — nearly $39 million from small donors in about a month, he said — and promised to help veterans seeking medical treatment and other services.
Much of it was his standard stump speech, calling former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton “crooked,” blasting foreign and other policy decisions under Barack Obama’s administration and reiterating his intentions to build a wall at the country’s southern border.
Trump steered clear of any mention of Khizr Khan, a Muslim man who spoke at last week’s Democratic National Convention and offered Trump a copy of the U.S. Constitution after describing how his son, an Army Captain, died in a car bombing trying to save other troops.
Clinton, during a stop in Columbus on July 31, joined other Democrats and some Republicans in criticizing subsequent comments Trump made about Khan and his wife.
Trump wasn’t biting on Aug. 1, instead keeping much of his focus on economic policy.
“The country is a mess,” he said. “We’re going to make it stronger. We’re going to make it safer.”
He also voiced concern about the November election — “I’m afraid the election’s going to be rigged,” he said.
The crowd inside the Aug. 1 event was smaller than Trump’s appearance at the same venue in November; hundreds of supporters in lines outside were blocked from entering after 1,000 came through the doors, though half of the convention hall was empty.
“That’s politics at its lowest,” Trump told reporters shortly before taking the stage, voicing anger that people weren’t allowed into the building, though city and convention officials told reporters later that the campaign had agreed to the 1,000-person limit when they secured the space.
The Aug. 1 appearance also had a different setup from Trump’s earlier Ohio rallies, where thousands of supporters stood in packed venues to hear him speak. This time, attendees sat in chairs for a town hall-style meeting, and with opening comments from Trump and questions from audience members Obamacare (“We’re going to repeal and replace it, 100 percent…,” he said), on helping small businesses (“We’re going to cut down the regulations I would bet between 85 and 90 percent, OK? … We’re going to take care of the environment, we’re going to take care of safety,” he said) and on the heroin epidemic (“If I win, we’re going to stop it… We’re not going to let this crap come into our country and poison our youth and poison our people and it comes in mostly from the southern border,” he said).
Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau chief. Email him at email@example.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.