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A Visit from the Administration

Trump Visits Wheeling, Rallies for GOP Candidates

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Protester and counter-protesters confront each other in the thiddle of downtown Wheeling ahead of doors opening for the rally. Photo: Glynis Board, West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Thousands of people lined the streets of Wheeling, West Virginia, this weekend, waiting in line before doors opened for a rally President Donald Trump held to boost Republican midterm election candidates.

More than 7,000 people came out for Trump’s 7th seventh presidential visit to WV.  Crowds were mostly peaceful and seemed excited to support the president.

Holly Griffin, just 10 years old, was at the front of the line with her mother. They came from Georgia. It was Holly’s 16th Trump rally and her mom’s 21st.

“We were the first ones here. We slept on the sidewalk,” Griffin said. “We drove last night or yesterday. It took 14 hours.”

Trump was in the Mountain State to support for GOP candidates including, Patrick Morrisey, who hopes to unseat long-time Democratic incumbent Joe Manchin.

Jamye Dixon of Wellsburg, West Virginia, believes Manchin’s best hope for holding onto his seat is to vote to confirm Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.

“If he wants to continue to have any votes in this state, he needs to vote to put that man on the Supreme Court.”

Still, not everyone in line was as convinced about Kavanaugh. 28-year-old Neseride came in from Washington, D.C. Originally from the Cameroon, Neseride has been an ardent Trump supporter.

“Nobel! [Trump’s] gonna get a Nobel Prize!” she chanted in front of a crowd of about 20 protesters holding anti-Trump administrations slogans.

But she was less certain about Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. She said it was hard to know who to believe, but that she was disappointed in Kavanaugh’s emotional testimony.

“You are in court every single day,” she said. “You should have more self-control.”

President Trump continued to plug Kavanaugh during his speech. He also spent a lot of time applauding improved economic conditions. But some protesters came to implore Trump to keep some of his economic campaign promises.

Tommy Wolikow, a 36-year-old laid-off worker from General Motors, came in from Youngstown, Ohio. He voted for Trump and says the president promised to bring jobs back to his region.

“I’ve never seen it this bad,” Wolikow said of the economy in his region.

Wolikow says he voted for Trump based on promises made to restore economic conditions.

“We just would like some type of glimmer of hope.”

Wolikow is part of a group of protesters following Trump at various campaign events.

The last day to register to vote in the midterm election is October 16. The election will be held November 6th.

This article was originally published by West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A Visit from the Administration

Vice President Pence talks health care and more during West Virginia visit

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Vice President Mike Pence made several stops in West Virginia Saturday, March 25, including the West Virginia state Capitol and Foster Supply Company in Scott Depot, where he spoke to an audience of about 200 small business owners and their families.

Pence’s speech was far-reaching, touching on subjects from jobs to infrastructure to energy. But perhaps the most amount of time was spent reassuring West Virginians that Trump has not given up on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

“West Virginians and President Trump we all know the truth about this failed law that every day Obamacare survives is another day American suffers,” he said. “That’s why the President worked tirelessly over the last couple weeks to get Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare.”

Pence said he was inspired by Trump’s determination and commitment to keep his promise to the American people and that the President and he are grateful for speaker Paul Ryan and all the House Republicans who stood with them in their efforts to begin the end of Obamacare.

Pence said the failure of the GOP bill was due to a lack of support from House Democrats and a handful of Republicans “actually standing in the way of President Trump’s plan.” Now, he said, they’re back to the drawing board.

Vice President Mike Pence talks to a group of small business owners at Foster Supply Company in Scott Depot. (Photo: Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting)

“Yesterday wasn’t a victory for the American people, it was a victory for the status quo in Washington DC and a victory for the disaster of Obamacare. But I promise you, that victory won’t last very long. The American people want Obamacare gone and as the President said today ‘don’t worry America.’ ”

Pence referred to a tweet Trump put out earlier Saturday morning, which said “Obamacare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!”

After addressing small business leaders, Pence headed over to the West Virginia Capitol Complex to speak to about 50 people.

“I’m just hoping he’ll talk about jobs, talk about the future of America, tax reform and that kind of thing,” said Putnam County native Caleb Turner before the crowd began a “We Love Pence” chant.

“Thanks to the landslide here in West Virginia, now we have a President in Donald Trump who’s going to cut taxes across the board for working families, small businesses and family farms, we’re going to roll back regulations that are killing jobs and the war on coal is over because Trump digs coal,” Pence said.

He then spoke again about health care in America.

“Even though Congress is not ready to do it yet, President Trump will not rest, will not relent until we repeal and replace Obamacare,” Pence said.

Until then, he continued, the administration will move forward. Pence said their next agenda item is to get back to the President’s ultimate goal of creating jobs.

The West Virginia Democratic Party slammed Pence’s visit in a news release, saying the ACA has benefited Mountain State immensely and that Trump’s proposed budget would cut needed programs. However, attendees to the VP’s events were overwhelming supportive for the GOP administration.

This story was originally produced by West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

Header Photo: Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

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