Former President Trump drew more than 6,000 fans to a rally in this industrial Northeast Ohio town on Saturday night – while mocking venture capitalist JD Vance, his election in the state’s surprisingly close U.S. Senate race.
“JD kisses my ass. Of course he wants my support,” Trump told the crowd.
“The entire MAGA movement is for JD Vance,” he added.
Trump has intervened in dozens of Republican primary elections across the country this year.
Many of the candidates he supported, including Vance, won their party’s nominations. But some Republicans in Washington have questioned whether Trump’s elections, which often have a powerful appeal to his base, can be successful in November when they have to compete for swing voters.
“The quality of the candidates has a lot to do with the outcome” of statewide races, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate GOP leader, said last month.
Many election forecasters believe that the Democrats are likely to retain control of the Senate.
Trump won Ohio twice, both times by more than 8 percentage points. But Vance that was once a Trump critic, has been struggling to build a lead over Rep. Tim Ryan, his Democratic opponent for the seat being vacated by retired Republican Senator Rob Portman.
Trump supported Vance in part because he thought the Hillbilly Elegy author and Marine veteran had the best chance of winning, he said earlier this year.
“He’s a guy who said some bad things about me. He did,” Trump said said to the crowd at a rally in Cleveland in April. “But I have to do what I have to do. We have to pick someone who can win.”
Some showed little affection for non-Trump Republicans at Saturday’s rally.
“I love Trump. He’s the best president of my life,” Patricia Delwiche, 65, of Missouri, who traveled nearly 12 hours to attend Saturday’s event, told The Times.
Delwiche believes Trump must do more to force Republicans out of the party in just the name – RINOS.
“There are RINOs out there. They need to get out, like Kevin McCarthy and Lindsey Graham,” she said, referring to the Bakersfield Republican who heads the House GOP and the longtime South Carolina senator.
Delwiche was one of nearly 1,000 rally-goers who had been waiting outside the venue since the early hours of the morning, when music blared from the arena’s outdoor speakers. Some participants drove to the parking lots.
As with most Trump rallies, Saturday’s gathering featured appearances from a variety of Trumpworld celebrities. Vincent Fusca – the QAnon character who has many Q followers believe is John F. Kennedy Jr., was there. Uncle Jam, an elderly man dressed as Uncle Sam and singing Trump-inspired renditions of well-known songs, sang “Facebook Prison Blues” to the tune of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.”
Mike Lindell, owner of the My Pillow company, performed on a small stage in the parking lot.
“They had January 6 planned,” Lindell told the crowd before the event, without specifying who “they” were.
The two days following the attack on the US Capitol will be remembered as some of the darkest days in our country’s history, Lindell said.
“They tried to kill your voice that day. They deleted 1.2 million votes from social media,” he said.
As rally-goers waited to enter the building, Lindell paced his outdoor stage for nearly an hour, spreading disproved election claims. Earlier this year Dominion Voting Systems sued Lindell on libel charges for his unevidenced allegation that the company’s former director of product strategy and safety committed treason and rigged voting machines in favor of President Biden.
After rally attendees signed up, the first person to take the stage was JR Majewski, a former nuclear power worker who is in a close race against Democrat Marcy Kaptur, the senior woman in the House.
Kaptur’s home territory, like much of northern Ohio, was once heavily Democratic, full of union workers supporting candidates with a long history of supporting workers. But that began to change after many manufacturing jobs were outsourced and some unions began supporting Trump.
Recent restructuring has made Kaptur’s district more competitive, and it’s a top target for Republicans this fall.
Majewski’s father was a “true blue Democrat until 2015 when he saw Donald Trump coming down the escalator and spoke to his heart,” the Times nominee told the Times in an interview.
“Donald Trump did not create the MAGA movement,” Majewski said. “He just taught us how to listen and gave us an insight into the work of our elected officers and that motivated people to get more involved.”
If elected, Majewski said he would focus on energy policy and prevent Democrats from “trying to force the Green New Deal, wind turbines and solar panels on the American people. We just have to keep the lobbyists and big business money out of the picture.”
Majewski’s speech took on a more radical tone. He thanked Florida Gov. Ron Desantis for that send unsuspecting migrants to Martha’s Vineyard and falsely claimed that the 2020 election was stolen by Trump.
“This Ohio caucus looks forward to working together as a team for Ohio,” he said. “We will lead the way, no more empty promises, no more locking ourselves in, no more masks, no more caring for our children.”
If Republicans have their way, the Ohio caucus will be led by Vance.
In his speech, Vance attacked Ryan for voting too often with Biden and supporting “rioters and looters” and the “Defund the Police” movement.
Ryan has never supported disappointing the police; He said the criminal justice system is racist and believes it is “the new Jim Crow”.
Vance also attacked Ryan for eventually wanting to ban gas powered vehicles, which Ryan did recommended during his 2020 presidential election.
“Will that benefit the Youngstown auto worker? Of course not,” Vance said.
Trump ended the night by painting a dark vision of Ohio. He said the cities of Cincinnati, Cleveland and Dayton – all run by Democratic mayors – are some of the deadliest in the country and are being taken over by drug dealers.
“I call for the death penalty for drug dealers and human traffickers,” Trump said.
He criticized Ryan for saying he wanted it “kill and confront” the extremist movement within the Republican Party.
Trump also attacked Ryan for trying to appeal to moderate Republicans.
“I think he has an ‘I love Donald Trump’ policy,” Trump said of the Democrat. “He’s a militant leftist pretending to be a moderate.”
Trump continued to spread false claims about the 2020 election.
“We won [the presidency] in two landslides, and now we have to give JD a landslide,” he said. “The Radical Left Democrats have fought tooth and nail to stop me because they know I will never be loyal to them and will only be loyal to you.”
Ohio residents must vote Republican for the entire ballot or risk having the election stolen, Trump added.
“We need a landslide big enough that the far left can’t steal or manipulate it,” Trump said. “This is the year we will take back the House of Representatives, we will take on the Senate, and we will take back America. And most importantly, in 2024, we will reclaim our magnificent White House.”
https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-09-17/trump-rally-ohio-vance In Ohio, Trump mocks Senate candidate he endorsed: J.D. Vance