The key to re-election? The Keystone state.
Axios reported this week that advisers to President Trump say he worries most about Pennsylvania flipping against him in 2020.
Trump was the first Republican presidential candidate to win Pennsylvania in over 2 decades and successfully flipped three blue collar PA counties.
The report also stated that Trump sees Vice President Joe Biden, native of Scranton, as the strongest Democratic candidate for 2020. Trump sees other Democratic 2020 hopefuls, such as Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, as weak candidates and believes Biden could possibly appeal to his base of “working class whites”.
Biden, who contemplated a 2016 campaign, has made his dissatisfaction with a Trump presidency clear for the past couple of years. At a campaign rally for Sec. Clinton in Oct. 2016 in Wilkes-Barre, PA, Biden said he wishes they were in high school so “he could take him behind the gym”.
Trump has returned verbal punches at Biden saying he believes the former VP is “weak, both mentally and physically” and “would go down fast and hard, crying all the way”.
Crazy Joe Biden is trying to act like a tough guy. Actually, he is weak, both mentally and physically, and yet he threatens me, for the second time, with physical assault. He doesn’t know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way. Don’t threaten people Joe!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2018
This Axios report came out hours before President Trump confirms he will be holding a campaign rally next Thursday with Rep. Lou Barletta, who is running for U.S. Senate, in Wilkes-Barre, PA. This is the same city that Biden made his comments wishing “he could take him (Trump) behind the gym”.
In an interview with CBS Evening News recently, Trump said he “dreams about Biden” as a candidate in 2020.
Pennsylvania Republicans believe their message of “freedom and economic prosperity” will keep the state red in 2018 and 2020.
“Pennsylvania voters have long embraced the need for a robust economy and the need for government to respect their hard-earned money and that is exactly what the Republican agenda has delivered. Under the Trump administration, the economy has been growing at an unparalleled rate. Voters will not forget this at the ballot box this year or in 2020,” said PAGOP Communications Director Jason Gottesman. “Republicans also stand in stark contrast to the radical left, who support the abolishing of ICE, open borders, obstructionism, socialism, and rolling back tax cuts.”
When asked about the Axios report and the importance of the Democrats taking back Pennsylvania in 2020, Brandon Cwalina, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party had this to say.
“Democrats are the right choice to lead our country because Democrats are the only party fighting for access to affordable health care, a higher minimum wage, and the protection of our students, seniors, and workers. We intend to get Governor Wolf and Senator Casey reelected this year, elect Democrats up and down the ballot this year and next year, and to continue to build the groundwork for us to make Pennsylvania blue again in 2020.”
Updated with Comments from the Pennsylvania GOP.