Just hours before former Vice President Joe Biden formally accepted the presidential nomination for the Democratic Party, President Donald Trump delivered an hour long speech describing his challenger as “Pennsylvania’s worst nightmare” near his birthplace.
“Joe Biden is no friend of Pennsylvania,” Trump said. “He’s your worst nightmare.”
Trump specifically criticized Biden’s previous support for NAFTA, the Trans Pacific Partnership, and other free trade agreements as “globalist attacks on Pennsylvania workers.”
Trump also touted his support for fracking in Pennsylvania and accused Biden of attempting to kill the industry in the state.
“You’re a big fracking state,” Trump said. “it doesn’t hurt you at all.”
“You’re not going to be allowed to frack anymore,” Trump said, if Biden were elected, adding that he said it would kill 600,000 jobs in Pennsylvania and result in higher taxes.
Trump’s claim about 600,000 jobs being lost in Pennsylvania due to a fracking ban is based off of a U.S. Chamber of Commerce study from 2019. This study was based off of a hypothetical nationwide ban on fracking, which Biden does not support. The former VP was criticized in the Democratic Primary over his opposition to a nationwide ban on the industry.
Biden has not called for the elimination of fracking, but did say that his administration would ban “new gas permitting on public lands.” Biden’s campaign has instead attempted to make the case that he can protect workers and the environment at the same time.
Recent polling also shows that Pennsylvanians are rather torn on fracking as well.
A CBS/YouGov poll released earlier this month showed that 52% of voters in the state oppose fracking, while 48% support it. In this same poll, Trump had a slight edge over Biden on which candidate would do a better job on oil and gas exploration, including fracking, with 45% saying Trump would do a better job, while 42% said Biden would.
Trump also spent time criticizing Gov. Tom Wolf’s restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, calling him “shutdown Wolf” and claiming that the restrictions in place are leading to outcomes that are “more dangerous than the virus.”
“What is he doing,” Trump said, about Wolf. “He has you in a shutdown still.”
“Wolf knows they should open up,” Trump added, hinting at the decision being political and saying that the state will open up one day after the presidential election.
Trump also claimed that the results in the state “aren’t better than other states,” although Wolf has a higher approval rating for his handling of the coronavirus outbreak than Trump in the state.
According to a Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll released on Thursday, 51% said that Trump has done a poor job handling the coronavirus outbreak, while 21% said that he’s done a good job, 17% said he did an excellent job, 9% said he’s done a fair job on the matter, and 3% aren’t sure.
10% said that Gov. Tom Wolf has done an excellent job handling the coronavirus outbreak, while 32% said the governor has done a good job on the matter, and 25% said that Wolf has done a fair job on the issue. 31% said Wolf has done a poor job handling the coronavirus outbreak and 3% aren’t sure.
During this visit to the state, Trump also described several members of Congress as “incredible warriors” and boosted the candidacies of two GOP challengers in the region. Trump thanked Reps. John Joyce (R-Blair), Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster), and Scott Perry (R-York) for their work in Congress. Trump also said that he’s heard “good things” about the candidacies of PA7 challenger Lisa Scheller and PA8 challenger Jim Bognet.
Trump also shouted out former Congressman Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne), as a “friend of mine… great man…fighter like no other fighter,” Trump 2020 Pennsylvania campaign chair Bernie Comfort, and Pennsylvania Republican Party Chair Lawrence Tabas.
Biden’s Scranton roots have been highlighted by several national outlets as a possible positive for the Democratic presidential candidate to turn the state blue again. Trump reupped claims he’s made at previous rallies of Biden not being a real “Pennsylvanian” and accused him of “abandoning the state.”
“He’ll remind us that he was born in Scranton,” Trump said of Biden. “But you know, he left, like 70 years ago, right?”
“He wasn’t born here,” Trump added. “He abandoned Pennsylvania and Scranton.”
Biden and his family moved from Scranton to Delaware when he was 10 years old, according to the AP.
Leading up to Trump’s visit in the region, Sen. Bob Casey, a native of Scranton, touted Biden’s roots in the region and policies, while blasting Trump.
“Joe Biden has the values and the spirit of the people of Scranton in his heart. It’s very evident from his record,” Casey said in a press release from the PA Democratic Party. “It’s very evident, you can see it in his Build Back Better economic plan, which reflects those values. Donald Trump doesn’t know the first thing about Scranton, about Lackawanna county or anywhere in northeastern Pennsylvania — doesn’t know a thing.”
“He doesn’t relate to us,” Casey added He doesn’t share our values.”
Thursday’s visit for Trump was his first in-person visit to the state since mid-May in the Lehigh Valley when he spoke for 30 minutes at a medical equipment distribution center. Earlier this month, Trump held a PA-specific tele-rally where he blasted Biden on his energy policies and boosted his economic agenda and more.
Biden’s most recent visit to the state was in early July in Lackawanna County to discuss his economic agenda following the coronavirus pandemic.
The Real Clear Politics average shows Biden leading Trump by 5.7 points in the state, although the Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll released yesterday showed Biden only leading Trump by 4 points, 48-to-44, which is within the margin of error.
Below is the full address made in Old Forge.