Trump campaigns in Pennsylvania as hurricane pounds Florida


Associated Press

ERIE, PA.

As Hurricane Michael pounded Florida on Wednesday, President Donald Trump took shelter at a campaign event in Pennsylvania, where he sought to boost Republicans before the midterms.

Trump acknowledged the hurricane at the top of his rally in Erie, offering his “thoughts and prayers” to those in the storm’s path and promising to “spare no effort” in the response. He promised to travel to Florida “very shortly.” He added: “We will always pull through. ... We will always be successful at what we do.”

Then Trump turned back to politics. With weeks to go before the critical November elections, Trump and his fellow Republicans are engaged in an all-out midterms blitz. They have been invigorated by the successful nomination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and are seeking to use the contentious moment to unify the GOP and stave off Democratic energy at the polls.

That Trump kept his appointment in Erie underscored the importance of this effort to Republicans.

He ultimately decided to attend, a move he criticized President Barack Obama for six years ago after Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast.

“Yesterday Obama campaigned with JayZ & Springsteen while Hurricane Sandy victims across NY & NJ are still decimated by Sandy. Wrong!” Trump tweeted Nov. 6, 2012.

On Wednesday, Trump touted two Republican congressmen, Mike Kelly and Lou Barletta. Kelly is facing a challenge from Democrat Ron DiNicola, while Barletta is mounting an uphill campaign to unseat two-term Democratic Sen. Bob Casey. The president, who attended a fundraiser before the rally, also praised GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner.

For weeks, Trump has been escalating his attacks on Democrats. He continued that effort Wednesday, claiming that Democrats want to “impose socialism and take over and destroy American health care.” He added: “Democrats want to abolish America’s borders and allow drugs and gangs to pour into our country.”

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