Trump stirs up supporters in Johnstown: ‘We’re going to un-rig the system’
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told a frenzied crowd of more than 5,000 in Johnstown that polls are swinging in his direction and he’s poised to solve a range of problems that he said are ailing Western Pennsylvania and the nation.
“We’re going to beat the system, and we’re going to un-rig the system,” Trump said Friday inside Johnstown’s Cambria County War Memorial Arena, where most people remained standing, chanting and roaring with applause throughout the 45-minute speech.
As for Johnstown, a town with a proud manufacturing history where Trump said one in three people lives in poverty, Trump promised: “Your steel will come back, your energy (resources) will be protected. We’ll no longer be the dumb people; we’ll be the genius people.”
Trump’s Johnstown appearance came two days after Wednesday’s third and final presidential debate, which earned mixed reviews.
A CNN/ORC poll of debate watchers suggested it might have been his best performance — 39 percent of viewers thought he did the better job, compared with 52 percent for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Only 27 percent thought Trump won the first debate, and 34 percent thought he won the second.
The Johnstown crowd erupted in pro-Trump cheers and chants when he asked them who won the third debate. Trump and the crowd appeared to feed off each other throughout the speech, and on several occasions the audience finished his sentences for him.
“She lied over and over …,” Trump said of Clinton at one point in his speech, before the crowd took over and continued, “… and over and over and over and over.”
Trump’s rambling speech touched on themes and issues that have become familiar.
Trump vowed to clamp down on illegal immigration, renegotiate better trade deals, repeal and replace Obamacare, rebuild the nation’s infrastructure and inner cities, strengthen the military, provide more support for veterans and “keep radical Islamic terrorists the hell out of America.”
Trump did not dwell on the possibility of a loss on Election Day as he did during a North Carolina rally earlier in the day, but he did say he would be proud of the effort win or lose, calling his supporters “a movement like has never taken place in our country before.”
Trump exhorted the crowd to vote: “We will win. We will shake the world.”
More so than at any of his previous stops in Western Pennsylvania, Trump directed particular venom at the news media, members of whom sat inside a fenced-off area in the middle of the crowd.
“These people are the worst,” Trump said as the crowd rained boos upon the media and some chanted, “Throw them out.”
Despite his vitriol for the news media, Trump said, “There are polls coming out that are really fantastic.”
Trump cited a Los Angeles Times/University of Southern California poll released this week that showed him leading Clinton by 1 percentage point. It was the first poll in about two dozen that showed him with a lead. The RealClearPolitics’ polling average shows Clinton leading by about 6 percentage points.
Tom Fontaine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7847 or firstname.lastname@example.org.