Republican nominee for president Donald J. Trump told thousands of supporters at Altoona, Pennsylvania’s Blair County Friday that he was going to share with them something special: Charts.
“I love charts! I love charts!” said an upbeat GOP standard bearer to an audience that included thousands in an overflow room.
Trump brought out six charts to illustrate his points and beyond just having the visual teaching aid, the charts were part of the New York City developer’s focused presentation that he delivered in measured tones that befit the seriousness of his message. The charts, mounted on half-inch foam backings, seemed like a teacher comprehension reinforcement exercise as they visualized six of the main points Trump made in his address.
The first chart showed that since President William J. “Bill” Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement in 200o, the Keystone State has lost one-third of its manufacturing jobs, which Trump lays at the feet of NAFTA.
The second chart showed the decline in American home ownership to the lowest rate in the country’s history. It was a chart that Trump punctuated with “Great job, Obama.”
Syria refugees were the subject of the third chart. Trump told his supporters that Clinton wants to bring in five times as many refugees as planned in President Barack Obama’s own program to bring in 10,000 before October. “How stupid are we folks?” Trump asked.
“Here’s another beauty,” he said. The fourth chart Trump presented a century of immigration into the United States from 1910 to 2010. “Lots of them coming from rough places.”
Saving the best for last, the GOP nominee held up a foam-backed card with two faces and two numbers. On the left, the Democratic nominee Hillary R. Clinton with $48,500,000 written below her face. On the right, Trump with the figure of $19,000 below his face. This time, the lesson was the stark contrast between how much money Clinton has raised from hedge fund managers and how much the hedge fund managers have contributed to Trump.
“I feel a little foolish,” he said.
The hedge fund managers were people he knew and people he would hire to take over America’s trade negotiations from the political hacks now doing the job, he said.
“They are not doing it for the good of the country, folks. These are tough people,” he said.
“You think maybe she’ll do what they want her to do?” Trump asked.
“Crooked Hillary: $48 million, 500,000 and Trump, $19,000–and I don’t even know who it is, he said.
Trump said he would find out who the guy was and give him his money back.
His fifth chart showed the growth of the national debt, which he said had doubled under Obama’s watch to $20 trillion. Trump told the crowd he would be OK with the debt doubling to $20 trillion if the country’s infrastructure, hospitals, roads, bridges and tunnels were “tippy-top,” like his own properties, such as his golf courses and hotels, but instead the country’s infrastructure is falling apart.
At one point, the GOP nominee called out: “Right, Bill?” to Rep. William F. “Bill” Shuster (R.-Pa.), the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the local congressman.
Joining Trump in another kind of demonstration was a very animated Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee. Media reports in the last week have depicted Priebus as despondent about Trump’s campaign and looking to lay the wood to a recalcitrant candidate. That guy? That guy was not this guy who warmed up the crowd.
“Hang on,” he told the congregants. “I get to introduce the next president of the United States, Donald Trump.”
The chairman swayed with the roar of the crowd, which he worked like a pro.
“Are you ready to win? Are you ready to win?” he asked with the full knowledge that these people, an hour’s drive from State College and a 90-minute drive due west to Pittsburgh, were in fact ready to win.
“We couldn’t be more blessed to be working with Donald Trump,” said the man, who was reported to be ready to break ties between the campaign and the RNC. “In July, together with our party, he raised $82 million to defeat Hillary Clinton.”
Another important guest was Michael McLanahan, the chairman of the McLanahan foundry, the oldest forge in the country. Earlier in the day, Trump toured the company’s headquarters and facilities in nearby Hollidaysburg and he invited McLanahan to speak to the crowd.
McLanahan did not have good news.
The company chairman said his family founded the foundry in 1835 and in its 181-year history, the last eight had been the worst.
“It has come to laying off friends and families that have worked for us for generations,” he said.
Taxes and regulations pushed by Obama were killing the company, he said. “These regulations are getting worse. I hate to see what’s going to happen in the next two to three months, when he pulls out the ones that he has had in his pocket for a long time.”
Pleading for his family’s business, McLanahan said, “We stand behind Donald Trump as a solid businessman. We support him in everything he is doing to change what is happening in Washington and this country.”