The Lead

In W. Pa., Trump teases 2024 bid; claims the state is being ‘totally destroyed’ by Dems

By: - November 6, 2022 12:49 pm

Former Former President Donald Trump rouses supporters at a rally in Latrobe, Pa. on 11/5/22 (Capital-Star photo by Ethan Dodd).

LATROBE, Pa. – On Saturday night, thousands watched silently for former President Donald Trump to descend from “Trump Force One” onto the tarmac of Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Westmoreland County. 

Appearing only hours after former President Barack Obama stumped for Democratic candidates in the 2022 midterms in Pittsburgh, Trump opened by saying, “You know they had a little rally here. Nobody showed up for their rally. Look at this rally.”

Though Trump came to stump for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mehmet Oz and GOP gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano, the crowd cheered for his much-anticipated announcement about running again for president in 2024.

“I’m not gonna say it right now,” he said.

“We want Trump. We want Trump,” the crowd chanted.

“Everybody, I promise you. In the very next – very, very, very – short period of time, you’re going to be so happy,” he said.

“I want the focus tonight to be on Dr. Oz and Doug Mastriano, because we have to win,” he said.

In the two hours Trump spoke, Trump zeroed-in on what he said were the failures of the Biden administration, making only brief mentions of Oz and Mastriano. 

Under Democratic leadership, “your commonwealth is being totally destroyed,” Trump said, blaming President Joe Biden, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.

Echoing his campaign announcement in 2015, Trump emphasized stopping the “invasion on our southern border,” again repeating offensive claims about migrants. 

“Americans deserve a Congress and a president who will protect the borders of our nation,” he said.

The twice-impeached, former president mocked Biden’s past speeches that targeted Trump and the “ultra-MAGA Republicans” as a threat to democracy.

Throughout his campaign, Mastriano has pushed the false claim that  the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. While Oz has kept his distance from “the Big Lie,” reports have shown that some of his staffers attended the Jan. 6 protest at the Capitol, according to Rolling Stone.

“This could be the vote that’s going to make the difference between a country and not a country,” Trump said.

Using Biden’s words, Trump proclaimed, “I am the MAGA king.”

Whenever Trump mentioned the Nov. 8 midterms, he brought up the 2024 election.

“We’re gonna win in ‘22, which is a few days. We’re gonna win in ‘24. We’re going to take back that beautiful house,” he said.

With strings playing over the speakers, the crowd joined Trump in his final words: “We will make America great again.”

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Ethan Dodd
Ethan Dodd

Correspondent Ethan Dodd covers western Pennsylvania for the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. Follow him on Twitter @ethandasaxman.