A defiant President Donald Trump rallied the faithful in a critical swing state on Tuesday, even as the majority-Democrat U.S. House pushed ahead with an inquiry that could end with him being just the fourth president in American history to be impeached.
Crowds chanted “four more years,” as Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence, made a campaign-style stop at the cavernous Giant Center in Hershey.
Earlier in the day on Tuesday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, and other Democratic leaders at his side, unveiled two articles of impeachment against Trump.
The Republican president faces one article for charges that he abused his power by asking Ukrainian president Volodomyr Zelenskiy to investigate likely 2020 political opponent and former vice president Joe Biden in exchange for military aid and a White House visit. The second accuses him of obstructing Congress’ investigation of that incident.
Trump’s net approval rating has plummeted 17 percentage points among Pennsylvania voters since he took office, according to a Morning Consult poll, with 52 percent of Pennsylvanians disapproving of Trump and 45 percent approving of the president as of October.
Despite this, Trump told the audience Tuesday night that “our poll numbers have gone through roof because of her [Nancy’s] stupid impeachment.”
A Morning Call/Muhlenberg College survey in mid-November found that the Commonwealth was split nearly evenly with 51 percent of state voters in favor of an impeachment inquiry and 47 percent opposed.
The margin was even narrower when voters were asked if his actions warranted removal from office with 49 percent in support of removal and 48 percent opposed.
Pence also took jabs at the ongoing impeachment proceedings calling them “baseless and partisan.”
Making his stance on the impeachment inquiry clear, Pence said, “I stand with President Donald Trump.”
Pence praised Trump for creating the United States Space Force, making good on his promise to build the border wall between Mexico and the United States, and appointing 170 “principled conservatives to our courts.”
“Three years of actions, results and promises kept,” Pence said. “We’ve made America great again.”
Pence said the “stakes couldn’t be higher” in the 2020 election.
“We need you to decide right here right now that Pennsylvania is going to vote for four more years of Donald Trump in the White House,” Pence said. The boisterous crowd responded again, chanting “four more years!”
Returning to the impeachment inquiry, Pence said to a cascade of boos from the crowd, “They want to impeach this president because they [Democrats] know they can’t defeat this president.”
Urging supporters to register to vote in advance of the 2020 election, Pence said, “it’s our turn to fight for him.”
Trump took to the stage at 8 p.m., an hour after the rally’s scheduled start time, allowing several minutes for applause and cheers before addressing the crowded arena.
Trump immediately began highlighting the administration’s successes, specifically in Pennsylvania.
Trump claimed that this year was the best year in history for the state in terms of the unemployment rate, which was at 4.2 percent as of October and has risen slightly since April when it was at 3.8%, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
“America is winning again,” Trump said. “This country is so respected, and it was not respected four years ago – we were laughed at.”
Just a week ago, Trump abruptly left the NATO Summit at Buckingham Place after it was revealed that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte were caught by a hot microphone talking about Trump.
Trump returned to praising his administration’s successes. “The GOP has never been so united,” he said.
Pennsylvania’s GOP politicians were in attendance including, U.S. Reps. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-15th District; Mike Kelly, R-16th District; Fred Keller, R-12th District; Dan Meuser, R-9th District; Lloyd Smucker, R-11th District; John Joyce, R-13th District, and Scott Perry, whose hotly contested 10th District played host to the rally. All received a chorus of loud cheers.
Former 2018 Republican nominee for governor Scott Wagner was not in attendance Tuesday night. But the York County pol made a huge contribution to the rally, offering up to $20,000 to cover police and security costs to Derry Township and neighboring municipalities that provided security for the event.
Wagner told the PA Post that he didn’t want continued controversy over who would front the bill to keep presidential visits from happening.
This comes after several cities, including Tucson, Ariz. and El Paso, Texas criticized the Trump campaign for outstanding bills for security and policing during previous rallies.
Before leaving the stage Trump took a few jabs at some of the democratic candidates for president in 2020, including the former vice president “sleepy” Joe Biden.
There were big boos in the crowd for Sen. Elizabeth Warren as Trump returned to calling Warren “Pocahontas” adding “I don’t think she makes it.”
Renewing his attack on the Democratic Party, Trump called the GOP “the party of honest Abe Lincoln.”
Trump concluded the rally in Hershey by telling attendees “the best is yet to come.”