President Donald Trump traveled to Pennsylvania for the second time in two weeks, telling voters in the swing state that Democrat Joe Biden will destroy energy jobs and side with violent protesters.
“This election is about safety and this election is about jobs,” Trump said Thursday in Latrobe, outside Pittsburgh. “Biden’s plan is to appease the domestic terrorists and my plan is to arrest and to prosecute them.”
Trump is increasingly trying to gain support in Pennsylvania, a Republican-leaning state that backed every Democratic presidential candidate from Bill Clinton in 1992 to Barack Obama in 2012. Trump won Pennsylvania in 2016 by fewer than 45,000 votes out of nearly 6.2 million cast.
Biden leads Trump in Pennsylvania by 4.2 percentage points, according to the average of polls compiled by RealClear Politics.
In a sign of the state’s importance, Trump and Biden will be in Shanksville next week, where United Flight 93 crashed, to mark the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The president has been calling for crackdowns on sometimes violent national protests against racial inequality and police brutality, saying it’s a matter of law and order. Biden has condemned the violence unequivocally and has blamed Trump for what he describes as fomenting unrest and dividing the nation.
Trump has been pushing the inaccurate message that Biden wants to ban all fracking -- a controversial method of extracting natural gas that has created thousands of jobs in southwestern Pennsylvania. Biden says he only wants to ban new drilling on public lands, but the message could scare those worried about holding on to energy-industry jobs.
“Biden would wipe out that entire industry,” Trump said on Thursday.
Biden was in Pittsburgh on Monday for a speech in which he argued that Americans aren’t safe under Trump. He has also been denouncing Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 186,000 people in the U.S.
Biden’s homestate advantage in Pennsylvania -- he was born in Scranton and represented next-door Delaware -- has been eroded by economic hardship in the southwest part of the state, where Trump is focused on re-energizing his base of White, non-college educated men. On Aug. 20, hours before Biden accepted the Democratic nomination, Trump campaigned in Old Forge, Pennsylvania, just outside Scranton.
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