President Donald Trump addresses the crowd at a rally in Northampton County. The Lehigh Board of Trustees voted to rescind Trump's honorary degree on Jan. 8, 2021. (Emma Satin/BW Staff)

President Trump rallies Lehigh Valley with eight days until election


President Donald Trump rallied thousands of Lehigh Valley supporters in critical battleground Northampton County with just over a week until Election Day. 

Trump started his hour-long speech lambasting Democratic nominee Joe Biden for his stances on energy and jobs while later claiming the United States is “rounding the turn” on COVID-19 and pushing Pennsylvanians to get out the vote in front of an energetic crowd despite a rainy day.

“We win Pennsylvania, we win the whole thing,” Trump told the crowd at HoverTech International, a medical equipment manufacturer in Hanover Township.

A woman flies a Pennsylvania for Trump flag at the Oct. 26 rally. (Emma Satin/B&W Staff)

Trump ran through a laundry list of grievances during his remarks in Northampton County, including unfounded claims of voter fraud through mail-in ballots, COVID-related “lockdowns” — which Trump directed toward Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf — and claims that Biden is a “die-hard globalist.” 

He hit Biden on his support for a transition away from fossil fuels while Trump pledged to cut taxes, protect pre-existing conditions and support Second Amendment rights. He painted Biden as a far-left Democrat, claiming that China “owns” him and that he was the architect of past poor trade deals that resulted in job loss. Trump also touted the expected confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court — an announcement that elicited lots of cheers and excitement from the crowd. 

Trump also claimed Wolf tried to block him from securing venues to hold his rallies, even though the state has capacity limits and social distancing guidelines in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“I’ll remember it, Tom,” Trump said.

At times, the crowd broke out into several chants, including, “Four more years” and “God bless Trump.”

Trump also spent time slamming the “fake polls” that show him trailing Biden both nationally and in key swing states, referring to his “legendary” underdog victory in 2016. 

Lisa Scheller, Republican congressional candidate running to represent the Lehigh Valley, was in attendance at the rally and spoke on stage before Trump’s arrival in support of the president. She is running against Democratic Rep. Susan Wild.

Republican congressional candidate Lisa Scheller. Scheller’s candidacy is on the ballot on Nov. 3. (Emma Satin/B&W Staff)

“The road to the White House is going to go straight through Pennsylvania’s 7th District,” Scheller told The Brown and White ahead of Trump’s arrival. “The road to the House majority goes straight through Pennsylvania’s 7th District.”

Elsewhere in the crowd, Doug Heinz, a Bethlehem resident and Trump supporter, is a retired veteran. He said he supports Trump’s efforts to grow the economy and felt the president did as best he could to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

“I think we should keep going strong with the border security and putting America first with the economy,” Heinz said. “Keep the economy rolling.”

Heinz said he supported Trump in 2016, too. Yet, he said he believes in a national mask mandate until COVID-19 “gets under wraps” — something Trump has not gotten behind. The United States has recently seen a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Roughly half the crowd in attendance was seen wearing a mask.

“I want to be respectful to other people,” Heinz said. “You just have to be responsible.”

Prompted by Trump, supporters raise their hands saying they plan to vote in person on Election Day. (Emma Satin/B&W Staff)

Trump’s visit to Northampton County was followed by similar events in Lancaster County later in the day. Northampton County is one of several in the state that flipped from supporting President Barack Obama in 2012 to backing Trump four years ago.  

Northampton County has approved nearly 80,000 mail-in ballots thus far, almost 50,000 of which have gone to registered Democrats in the county, according to the county’s Election Division. Trump, though, asked the crowd by a show of hands who has not yet voted and plans to do so in-person on Nov. 3.

The overwhelming majority raised their hands saying they would vote on Election Day — and vote for Trump.

Kristin Maritz, from Point Pleasant, New Jersey, and Geanne Pegillo, from Manasquan, New Jersey, were also in attendance. Both women said they supported Trump in 2016 and have no reservations about backing him again.

Maritz and Pegillo listed safety, “law and order,” the economy and “putting America first” as top issues. Both women have voted by mail already.

William Papik, right, a welder from New York. Papik’s biggest political priority is the availability of jobs. (Emma Satin/B&W Staff)

“In terms of divisiveness, they blame him, but we know it’s not him,” Pegillo said. “It’s the media. He restores that pride.”

Another supporter, Kim Hudaock, listed the economy and China as her top issues.

“China is my number one concern,” she said. “China, their masterplan, is to take over the world, and they’re slowly doing that. They’re already in our country with all the schools and universities, so they’re a major problem for us.” 

Hudoack wants to see improvements with companies, like Google, Facebook and Twitter. She said right now these companies can do “whatever they want” and that the media is “totally fake,” which limits people hearing the truth. 

She said the media is not covering all issues.

“They’re showing Biden, little baby clips of Biden, you know, he doesn’t even know what he’s running for,” she said. “Biden, anyone that votes for Biden doesn’t know anything about what’s really going on. Their heads are in the sand, in my opinion.”

Helen Oni likes Trump because he is not a politician.

Helen Oni (Aliya Haddon/B&W Staff)

“For somebody who is so comfortable, somebody who has his own money, he’s not actually there for the money. He’s there to get things right,” Oni said. “He’s a man of his word. He says things and he gets it done.”

Oni expects Trump to do great things for the Black community throughout the next four years.

“He has really put a lot of funds in the historical Black colleges. I want him to abolish the projects and encourage education, more opportunities — business opportunities,” she said.

William Papik, a welder, came to the rally from New York. Papik is going to be a first-time voter this election.

He said it’s Trump’s economic record that has him voting red on Nov 3.

“Jobs,” Papik said as to what he’s most concerned about. “Keep everything in America.”

The Northampton County rally marks a last-minute push to lock in voters to keep the Keystone State in Trump’s column.

“For the last four years, you have seen me fight for you, and now I am relying on you to deliver another historic victory for our country,” Trump said. 

Caroline Coffey and Aliya Haddon contributed to this article. 

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  1. Thanks for what I believe is more than fair coverage of the event, I think the president would have made many questionable statements than reported. It seems as though most politicians are more than willing to mangle truth in the attempt to be elected. I have to wonder about: “Both women said they supported Trump in 2016 and have no reservations about backing him again.” I will be voting for #45 and have lots of reservations. “Roughly half the crowd in attendance was seen wearing a mask.’ but oddly enough the crowd behind the podium looked to be totally masked, DJT of course not so. May you not be accused of “fake news”.

  2. Enough Already on

    I watched the rally on TV. I looked mainly at the crowd hoping I might see someone wearing a LEHIGH sweatshirt or a Lehigh for Trump sign.

    Unfortunately, it was not to be.

    Too bad.

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