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Trump stumps for Saccone at Pittsburgh airport | TribLIVE.com
Politics/Election

Trump stumps for Saccone at Pittsburgh airport

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Jack Fordyce | Tribune-Review
Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone speaks during a rally with President Trump at Pittsburgh International Airport on March 10, 2018.
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Jack Fordyce | Tribune-Review
President Trump gestures to the crowd gathered for a rally endorsing Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone at Pittsburgh International Airport on March 10, 2018.
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Jack Fordyce | Tribune-Review
President Trump speaks to the crowd gathered for a rally endorsing Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone at Pittsburgh International Airport on March 10, 2018.
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Jack Fordyce | Tribune-Review
Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone speaks at Pittsburgh International Airport on March 10, 2018.
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Jack Fordyce | Tribune-Review
President Trump speaks to the crowd gathered for a rally endorsing Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone at Pittsburgh International Airport on March 10, 2018.
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Jack Fordyce | Tribune-Review
President Trump speaks to a crowd gathered for a rally for Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone at Pittsburgh International Airport on March 10, 2018.
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Jack Fordyce | Tribune-Review
President Trump speaks to the crowd gathered for a rally for Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone at Pittsburgh International Airport on March 10, 2018.
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Jack Fordyce | Tribune-Review
President Trump introduces Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone during a rally at Pittsburgh International Airport on March 10, 2018.
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Jack Fordyce | Tribune-Review
President Donald Trump introduces Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone during a rally at Pittsburgh International Airport on March 10, 2018.

President Donald Trump on Saturday again visited Western Pennsylvania to lend a hand to fellow Republican Rick Saccone in the final days of his congressional campaign.

“I love this place. Hello Pittsburgh,” the president told thousands of people packed into a hangar at Atlantic Aviation at Pittsburgh International Airport. “Do me a favor. Get out Tuesday, vote for Rick Saccone. We can leave right now.”

Saccone, 60, faces Democrat Conor Lamb, 33, on Tuesday in a special election for Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District to replace Tim Murphy, who resigned in October amid a marital scandal.

The president told the crowd that Pennsylvania played a critical role in American independence, American freedom and, “guess what else, American steel,” he said.

“Steel is back. Aluminum is back,” Trump said, noting the tariffs he enacted Thursday.

Trump also touched on popular refrains from his presidential campaign.

“Washington, D.C., has a lot of evil there, but we are getting it out,” Trump said. “A lot of bad people. A lot of fake media.”

The president briefly touched on China, the Islamic State group and his planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and he declared that coal is coming back early in his speech.

Trump was expected to talk about tax reform, the economy and Saccone, a state representative from Elizabeth and an Air Force veteran.

The latest Gravis Marketing poll of the district shows Saccone with a lead of a few percentage points over Lamb, a former federal prosecutor and Marine from Mt. Lebanon.

The race is much closer than the area’s voting history would suggest. Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton by 19 percentage points in the district, which includes parts of Allegheny, Westmoreland, Washington and Greene counties. Murphy, a Republican, never faced a serious threat from Democrats in eight elections.

Money is pouring into the race as the national parties frame it as a referendum on Trump and a look at Democrats’ prospects for winning a majority in the House in midterm elections later this year. Outside groups have spent more than $10 million to support Saccone as Lamb has outraised the Republican in direct contributions, garnering $3.8 million to Saccone’s $900,000.

Trump’s visit is his fifth to the region since he started his campaign for president in 2015. In a January visit, he described his tax reform plan as a raise for American families. The changes doubled the standard deduction most Americans claim on their taxes while sharply reducing the corporate tax rate and adding an estimated $1.5 trillion to the deficit. He signed orders Thursday imposing tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports from most countries, a move he said would help regrow those industries in the United States.

Trump made trade the focal point of a speech he made two days before the 2016 presidential election in the same hangar he visited Saturday. In that speech, he criticized the President Bill Clinton-supported North American Free Trade Agreement, which is now being renegotiated. Trump said, “We are bringing steel back to Pennsylvania like it used to be.”

Both 18th District candidates expressed some support for the tariffs in a recent debate. Saccone has campaigned as a candidate who would carry out Trump’s agenda, and quipped in a debate last month that his only area of disagreement with the president is which football team each supports.

Wes Venteicher is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5676, wventeicher@tribweb.com or via Twitter @wesventeicher.

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