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Trump Touts Energy Policies at Shale Conference in Pittsburgh

President Donald Trump delivered an hour-long address at the annual Shale Insight Conference in Pittsburgh on Wednesday afternoon touting his administration’s “pro-energy agenda,” while making his case that 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls will set the region’s economy backwards. 

“Last time I spoke, American energy was under assault by the previous administration,” Trump said, referencing his address to the conference in 2016. “We are now energy independent.”

Trump credited policies from his administration that included deregulation and turning back environmental initiatives passed during President Barack Obama, for “ending the war on American energy.” 

One Obama-era commitment that Trump specifically noted as important to the region was his decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, which he said would have hurt American workers. He reiterated a statement he made in 2017 that the decision was made to put “America first” and specifically cited Pittsburgh. 

“My job is to represent the people of Pittsburgh, not the people of Paris,” Trump said. 

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, who has committed to following the goals of the Paris Climate Accord, responded to Trump’s comments by accusing the current administration as being “stuck in an outdated 19th century mindset.”

“The Pittsburgh region is thriving and has moved on to a 21st Century economy based on technology and clean energy production,” Peduto said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “President Trump’s outdated vision for Western Pennsylvania and the Rust Belt would put the final nails into the coffin of those struggling communities his economy has left behind.”

Similar to Trump’s speech at a Beaver County ethane cracker plant in August, which was also billed as an official White House visit, he spent time criticizing Democrats and pointed the focus at Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Allegheny).

Trump referenced Lamb as one of the “do-nothing Democrats” who haven’t pledged support for his USMCA trade pact and accused him of “wanting to take away your guns.” During his rant about Lamb, Trump said that Sean Parnell, a conservative veteran who appears as a guest on Fox News, should be elected to the seat, although Parnell hasn’t formally announced a bid for the 17th Congressional District. 

Trump lauded Pennsylvania’s Republican Congressional delegation as an “incredible group” that included appearances at the rally from Reps. John Joyce (R-Blair), Fred Keller (R-Snyder), Mike Kelly (R-Butler), Dan Meuser (R-Luzerne), Guy Reschenthaler (R-Allegheny), Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster), and G.T. Thompson (R-Centre). 

In advance of Trump’s visit, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party shot out a press release criticizing Trump for his “broken promises to Pennsylvania families.” 

Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairwoman slammed Trump over a number of issues, specifically hitting him on economic issues and said that voters are “sick and tired” of Trump and said it’s “time again to stand up for the middle class.” State Rep. Austin Davis (D-Allegheny) said that his constituents are frustrated by Trump’s “broken promises” and criticized him on pricing of prescription drugs, and the economy that’s “just not working for everyone.” 

PA-AFLO CiO President Rick Bloomingdale said that Trump boasting about the Pennsylvania economy is “insulting.”

“The idea that Donald Trump will come to our state today to talk about the economy right now is frankly insulting. … Pennsylvania families deserve more than Donald Trump’s broken promises, and it’s why we will be spending all of next year ensuring it’s the last year of his presidency,” Bloomingdale said in a statement. 

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that protesters were present outside of the event, that included “two sides that clashed frequently throughout the day.” 

Trump’s visit in Pittsburgh caps off a busy couple of days for 2020 presidential hopefuls. On Monday, Vice President Mike Pence toured Schott North America Inc. in Duryea, Luzerne County and pushed for Congress to support the USMCA trade pact. Former Vice President Joe Biden attended a private fundraiser Tuesday night in Exeter and delivered a speech on “rebuilding the middle class” at the Scranton Cultural Center on Wednesday morning. 

The full address from Trump in Pittsburgh on Wednesday can be seen below. 

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