Supporters of President Trump in West Virginia weren’t bothered in the least Tuesday night by the news that two of his former aides were convicted of felonies earlier in the day.
At a boisterous, packed rally at an arena in Charleston, thousands of West Virginians hung on the president’s every word and cheered loudly for his pro-coal mining policies. Among them were the state’s top law-enforcement official, Republican state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who has been endorsed by Mr. Trump in his bid for a Senate seat.
“We love you, Mr. President,” Mr. Morrisey told Mr. Trump on stage.
He told the crowd, “We know what this great man right beside me has done for us. It’s time for us to show that appreciation and deliver back. We know that President Trump is making America great again. But more importantly, President Trump is making West Virginia great again.”
MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! https://t.co/gZqP81bclE
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2018
Mr. Trump, making his sixth trip to the state, didn’t mention the cases of former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, convicted of tax evasion, and former personal attorney Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and bank fraud.
Mr. Trump did make a reference to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, again criticizing it for exceeding its scope.
“The Russian witch hunt. Where is the collusion? They’re still looking for collusion,” Mr. Trump said.
Instead, Mr. Trump highlighted his economic policies and regulation cutting that have helped West Virginia’s coal industry bounce back.
“We are putting our great coal miners back to work,” he said. “We love clean, beautiful West Virginia coal. The coal industry is back.”
The president noted his reversal earlier in the day of former President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, saying the move will further boost coal production without sacrificing clean air and water.
“I’m getting rid of some of these ridiculous rules and regulations,” he said.
He said a vote for Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III is a vote “for the party that really wants to destroy the coal industry.”
Mr. Trump also emphasized the need for supporters to vote for Republicans in November, saying the election “is bigger than any one race.” He said Democrats are beholden to “left-wing haters and angry mobs.”
“We’ve got really no majority. We need to elect five, six, seven more senators,” the president said. “Democrats want to turn America into one big, fat sanctuary city for criminal aliens.”
He said of Mr. Manchin, “I’m not knocking him, but [Senate Democratic leader Charles E.] Schumer’s the boss. Joe’s just not voting with us. He votes against the people of West Virginia.”
The president also said he’s “standing up to social media censorship,” a reference to the recent banning of Alex Jones of Infowars on several social media platforms and other conservative criticisms of Silicon Valley’s idea of appropriate content.
“I would rather have fake news, like CNN, than to have anybody … stopped and censored,” Mr. Trump said. “You can’t have censorship. You can’t pick one person and say ‘we don’t like what he’s been saying, he’s out.’ So we’ll live with fake news — I hate to say it. We have no choice. That’s by far the better alternative.”
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