Trump wades into Pa. race seen as test of GOP strength

Associated Press


President Donald Trump waded into a potentially risky race Thursday, throwing his support behind a Pennsylvania Republican in a contest widely viewed as a test of whether his party can stave off Democratic 2018 gains.

Speaking at a Pittsburgh-area factory, Trump praised state lawmaker Rick Saccone as “a real friend and a spectacular man.”

And he told reporters he planned to come back to Pennsylvania – where he won in 2016 – to campaign for Saccone, who is trying to keep a House seat in Republican hands in the first congressional race of the year.

“I’ll be back for Rick, and we’re going to fill up a stadium and we’re going to do something really special for Rick. I look forward to it,” Trump said.

The White House had insisted Trump’s visit had nothing to do with politics. And indeed, the speech he delivered at H&K Equipment largely stuck to the script, touting the tax cuts he signed into law just before Christmas, and trying to turn the conversation back to his accomplishments after weeks dominated by distractions, including questions about his mental health and comments about immigration that some considered racist.

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