It’s all about Trump at Saturday night’s Saccone rally

Voters in Pennsylvania say they trust Trump ahead of special election.

Trump speaks at Saccone rally on March 10, in Pennsylvania ahead of special election. Credit: Addy Baird
Trump speaks at Saccone rally on March 10, in Pennsylvania ahead of special election. Credit: Addy Baird

MOON TOWNSHIP, PENNSYLVANIA — Cindy Ireland came to President Trump’s rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania Saturday night hoping to hear more about a solution for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients.

“The ones that were brought here when they were little or born here, you have to blame their parents for not making the effort to get them the citizenship they deserve,” Ireland said in an interview with ThinkProgress Saturday before the rally. “But they’re in school now, they’re in college, they’ve got jobs, some of them have families of their own, you know, how can you send them back to a country they don’t have any idea or loyalty to?”

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Ireland, who supports Trump, said she feels that many DACA recipients could have taken steps to apply for citizenship already if they really wanted to, but she was adamant that they deserved a solution and that Democrats have dropped the ball.

Her husband Mike wanted to hear a different message on Saturday. “I want to hear about the wall,” he said. “I like the wall.”

Asked whether he agreed with his wife about the importance of a solution for DACA recipients, he hesitated for a beat and said that, yes, he thinks some recipients deserve a path to citizenship.

Ireland said that she was a lifelong Democrat who switched parties and voted for Trump.

“We needed a different direction,” she said. “New blood, fresh blood, the way things have been working in the past, their policies just weren’t working.”

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The Irelands were two of thousands of people who waited in freezing weather Saturday night to attend the Trump rally in Moon. Trump came to Pennsylvania in support of Republican House candidate Rick Saccone, who is on the ballot in next week’s special election to replace Rep. Tim Murphy (R), who retired following the reveal of a scandalous affair. Murphy, an anti-abortion Republican, reportedly asked his mistress to get an abortion when he believed she was pregnant.

But like many other attendees, the Irelands didn’t have much to say about Saccone at Saccone’s rally.

Both said they would vote for him on Tuesday, but Mike said his reasoning was simply that Saccone was a Republican. Cindy had more to say about Saccone’s opponent, Democrat Conor Lamb, calling him “personable and charismatic.”

“Just like Obama was,” she said, but she won’t be voting for him. Lamb has said that, if elected, he would not support House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as Speaker. Cindy, however, said she wasn’t sure she believed him.

“When he gets in, will he be another puppet? That’s what I’m worried about,” she said. “You know, from past experiences, the Democrats lie. They say what you want to hear and then when they get in, they do what they want to do.”
Other rally attendees echoed the sentiment.

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“That Pelosi, I think she’s senile,” Linda Knouse, a retired business owner and 18th district attendee, said in an interview.

Like Cindy Ireland, Knouse said she thought Lamb was only saying he wouldn’t support Pelosi in order “to get elected.”

“What else is he gonna say?” Knouse said. “If he’s gonna come in here and say ‘Go Pelosi!’ do you think he’s going to get any votes? No!”

Knouse said Saturday that she’s voting for Saccone because she feels like Lamb is a “typical liberal” who was “very negative” in the first debate she watched. Knouse also said that, ideally, she wants Congress to work in a bipartisan manner, but, she said, “I see that these Democrats won’t budge on anything.”

“So if we want to move an agenda forward, I would like it to be bipartisan. But,” Knouse said, “if that ain’t gonna happen, then we just have to stack the cards for the majority.”

Other attendees at Saturday’s rally said they didn’t live in Saccone’s potential future district and simply came to see Trump.

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“He’s the president,” one man, Ernie, who declined to give his last name, said. “Republicans hate him. Democrats hate him. He’s an outsider and he’s turning things around.”

Ernie’s wife, Cindy, said she feels like Trump understands her, even though he’s a multi-millionarie and she’s middle class.

“He says what he knows we want done. He says what he knows we want to hear and he gets it done,” Cindy said. “I feel like he doesn’t think we’re useful idiots. He actually listens to what we’re saying and he delivers.”

The arguments made by Cindy and Ernie, both Pittsburgh residents, are very similar to those that Trump supporters made less year and a half ago, when Trump won Pennsylvania’s 18th district by 20 points.

But things don’t look like they’ll be as easy for Saccone as they were for Trump. Saccone is up by low single digits in most polls, and a recent poll even had Lamb leading.

But Trump supporters aren’t worried about the polling. They were wrong about Trump, of course.

“I’m not a big believer in polls,” Cindy said. “I don’t trust polls. They just talk to the people they want to talk to.”