Trump returns to Pennsylvania with rally in pivotal Lehigh Valley

Gun Rights

NORTH WHITEHALL TWP — Former President Donald Trump returned to the commonwealth of Pennsylvania on Saturday to rally supporters in a pivotal battleground region 10 days before the state’s primary election. 

Saturday’s visit comes two days before Trump is scheduled to stand trial in criminal proceedings in a New York City courtroom. Trump is accused of falsifying business records to cover up payments made in 2016 after an alleged affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels. He will be the first former U.S. president to stand trial in criminal proceedings.

Although Trump is the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, there are several competitive races for GOP candidates in Pennsylvania’s April 23 primary.

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Prior to Trump’s evening rally, he attended a fundraiser in Bucks County, which is considered the lone purple county of the Philadelphia suburbs. 

Saturday was Trump’s third visit to the state in 2024. In February, he spoke at a National Rifle Association event in Harrisburg and one week later unveiled a new line of Trump-branded sneakers and delivered brief remarks at Sneaker Con in Philadelphia.

President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign has also kept a steady presence in the crucial battleground state. He’s made four separate appearances in Pennsylvania, all in the eastern region of the state, most recently visiting in Delaware County the day after his State of the Union address.

Biden will return to the state for three separate visits in the upcoming week. On Tuesday, he’ll be in his hometown of Scranton, to deliver a “major address” regarding the nation’s tax code. On Wednesday, he’ll visit the Pittsburgh region and Thursday will return to Philadelphia.

Ahead of Trump’s visit, a group of Democratic women lawmakers spoke at a press conference in Bucks County and criticized Trump’s stance on abortion.  U.S. Reps. Mary Gay Scanlon (5th District), and Madeleine Dean (4th District), were joined by Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Rep. Joanna McClinton of Philadelphia, and candidate for PA-01 Ashley Ehasz.

“When I go to the doctor, there’s only room for me. There’s not room for the state legislature. There’s not room for Congress. There’s not room for the president, no matter who’s there. There’s not room for the Supreme Court,” McClinton said. “Unfortunately, the government has gotten into these medical offices by taking away our rights, by rolling back almost 50 years of precedent. And we cannot blindly sit still while the former President is in Bucks County frolicking around, continuing to spread the Big Lie.”

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) put up billboards in Allentown criticizing Trump’s comments on abortion before the former president’s rally on Saturday. And Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro said in a Friday statement that Trump’s agenda was “too dangerous and extreme” for Pennsylvania. 

The Lehigh Valley is considered one of the most competitive political regions of Pennsylvania. 

In 2016, when Trump beat Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania, he lost Lehigh County by just under 5 points, but won neighboring Northampton County by nearly 4 points. In 2020, Biden secured a victory in Pennsylvania and won Lehigh County by roughly 7.5 points, while also flipping Northampton County blue. 

In 2020, Northampton County was the only county in Pennsylvania to pick the winner in all four statewide elections. The only debate between the candidates for vice president will take place in Northampton County in September. 

Widespread polling shows Biden and Trump are currently locked in a close race for Pennsylvania’s 19 electoral votes. The Cook Political Report, a national ratings outlet, labels Pennsylvania as one of the six “toss-up” states this cycle. It’s the state with the most electoral votes on the line in this category.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

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