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By DAVID SKOLNICK
Trump visits the Valley
President Donald Trump held his "Make America Great Again" rally at the Covelli Centre and discussed progress in his first six months in office.
Trump merchandise still going strong
David Dickson, of Florida, has traveled around the country selling republican presidential candidate-related merchandise. But once someone is put in office, he says, the vending usually stops until the next election
cycle. Not in President Donald Trump's case.
Trump Rally in the Valley: Arrival at YARS
Trump Rally in the Valley: Struthers
Trump Rally in the Valley
Youngstown is center stage as President Donald Trump holds a "Make America Great Again" rally at the Covelli Centre.
Trump Rally in the Valley: Covelli Center
With only six months as president, Donald Trump was in full campaign mode speaking to a full house at the Covelli Centre.
The crowd of close to 7,000 – not including a few who were turned away – at Tuesday’s presidential rally loved it.
During his 55-minute speech, the Republican spoke of campaign promises he says he will keep, including building a wall along the Mexican border, repealing then replacing Obamacare, and bringing back jobs that are long gone, including those at steel mills that closed in the 1970s.
VIDEO: Trump visits the Valley
“Those jobs [that] have left Ohio, they’re coming back,” Trump said.
He urged the crowd: “Don’t sell your house” because “we’re going to fill those factories back up,” and if not, the mills will be torn down and new ones will be built.
VIDEO: Trump merchandise still strong seller
The president also claimed that “we’ve put coal mines and coal back on the map.”
Trump bragged about what he said he’s done as president, going as far as contending: “With the exception of the late, great Abraham Lincoln, I can be more presidential than any president that’s ever held this office.”
He added: “I think with few exceptions, no president has done anywhere near what we’ve done in his first six months – not even close.”
He was quick to blame the media for not highlighting his accomplishments, criticizing the “fake news filter” and saying he had Tuesday’s rally so he could “speak directly to the American people.”
Trump spoke of the presidents on Mount Rushmore, which led to him saying that the news media will say he believes he’ll be on it one day.
“What a dishonest group of people,” he said of the media.
“This has been a difficult week for the media because I forced them to travel with us all around the country and spend time with tens of thousands of proud Americans who believe in defending our values, our culture, our borders, our civilization and our great American way of life,” Trump said.
Trump attracted loud applause from the enthusiastic crowd at the center for his first visit to the Mahoning Valley as president.
Trump campaigned in the area three times during the 2016 presidential campaign as a candidate: March 14, the day before the Republican primary, at Winner Aviation; Aug. 15 for a policy speech on immigration at Youngstown State University; and Sept. 5 for a brief stop at the Canfield Fair.
Trump lost Mahoning County in last year’s election to Hillary Clinton 49.9 percent to 46.6 percent, the best showing for a Republican in the Democratic stronghold since Richard Nixon’s victory in 1972. During an earlier stop Tuesday in Struthers, Trump incorrectly said: “Democrats, they win in Youngstown. But not this time.”
Trump became the first Republican to win Trumbull County since Nixon in 1972, capturing 50.7 percent of the vote to 44.5 percent for Clinton, a Democrat.
As for the wall along the Southern border, Trump told the crowd at the Covelli Centre: “I watch the media as they say, ‘Well, he just had some fun during the campaign on the wall.’ That wasn’t fun, folks,” promising to build it.
“Don’t even think about it, we’ll build the wall,” he said, adding: “After spending years defending other nation’s borders, we are finally defending our own.”
A few protesters attempted to interrupt Trump’s speech and were escorted out of the facility.
“Is there any place more exciting, more fun and safer than a Trump rally?” he said at one time as a protester was taken away. He added: “Where the hell did he come from?”
Trump said he was happy to be back in Ohio – “the center of the American heartland” and “away from the swamp of Washington, D.C.”
Regarding Tuesday’s 51-50 vote by the U.S. Senate to begin debate on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, Trump said, “We’re now one step closer to liberating our citizens from this Obamacare nightmare and delivering great health care for the American people.”
But the Senate is still a long way from actually voting to repeal Obamacare and replace it.
Trump had this warning: “Any senator who votes against repeal and replace is telling America that they are fine with the Obamacare nightmare, and I predict they’ll have a lot of problems.”
He also brought up the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms.
“Our Second Amendment is very, very sound again,” he said. “That would’ve been gonzo. It would have been gone, but I never had a doubt.”
Without saying so, Trump seemed to be alluding to what would have happened to guns rights if his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton had been elected.
Trump added: “Finally, we believe family and faith, not government and bureaucracy, are the foundation of our society. In America, we don’t worship government. We worship God.”
Repeating his campaign statements that America comes first, Trump said, “We will never sacrifice Ohio jobs or jobs from any other state to enrich other nations.”
If the North American Free Trade Agreement isn’t renegotiated with Canada and Mexico to make it a “great deal,” Trump said it will be eliminated and we’ll “start all over again.”
He also said, “We are finally, finally, finally putting America first.”