Donald Trump Jr., the oldest son of the Republican presidential nominee, spoke to an enthusiastic Grove City crowd of a few hundred outside city hall on Sunday afternoon — just two days before Election Day — stressing the chance voters in this key swing state have to “break up the D.C. cartel” by sending his father to the White House.
“Bring all of your friends to the polls, make all the calls that are needed,” Trump Jr. said. “We’re not going to have the chance for someone outside the system to do this again … This is our opportunity to fight for real change.”
Speaking on an outdoor stage in a corner plaza, adorned with campaign signs and autumnal decorations, Trump Jr. repeatedly cast his father as the ultimate outsider: a successful businessman not beholden to Washington lobbyists, who ran for “one of the most difficult jobs in the world” because he “loves his country.”
“We have the opportunity to put someone in the White House who is willing and able to take on the swamp, who is willing and able to fight the corruption,” Trump Jr. said. “Someone who is doing this rather selflessly because, honestly, not many people in my father’s position would do this.”
Trump Jr.’s visit here is his second in central Ohio in five days, having spoken to a millennial crowd on Ohio State’s campus Tuesday, and comes just 48 hours before Election Day as his father’s campaign makes a final push to win the key bellwether state.
An average of statewide polls from RealClearPolitics show the elder Trump leading Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton by 2.8 points. That figure, however, does not include the findings of The Columbus Dispatch’s poll, released Sunday morning. It found Clinton leading the real-estate mogul Trump by one percent, 48 to 47, though it’s well within the margin of error.
In order to secure the requisite 270 Electoral College votes to win the presidency, the Republican candidate, who has surged in the polls in recent weeks, both nationally and in this state, almost certainly needs to win Ohio and its 18 votes. Clinton also campaigned in Ohio on Sunday in Cleveland alongside NBA player LeBron James.
Trump Jr.’s speech, which lasted around 15 minutes, was upbeat, positive and contained personal anecdotes when making the case for his father. On the subject of job creation, Trump Jr. recalled his memory of Clinton’s successful run for a Senate seat in 2000.
“I wish job creation was as simple as your politicians would have you believe, that you could push a magical button and a unicorn of job growth appears out of nowhere,” he said. “But guess what? I was sold that unicorn when Hillary Clinton ran for the Senate in my home state. The People’s Republic of New York was promised 200,000 jobs under Hillary Clinton. Guess how many we got?”
Nearly in lockstep, the crowd, waving a panoply of signs with messages like “End the Corruption” to “Women for Trump” and a homemade “Trump and Pence,” shouted “ZERO!!.”
“No!” Trump Jr. said back. “It’s less than zero. We lost 8,000 jobs.”
A Washington Post story from August on Clinton’s tenure in the Senate found her 200,000-job promise indeed fell flat, but it’s unclear if the state lost 8,000 jobs.
When talking about the problems surrounding the Affordable Care Act and rising health-care premiums, Trump Jr. brought up his five children and their frequent stops to the doctor.
“They’re in the doctor’s office every week for, at least once a week, and each time it’s $500, $1,000, it’s $1,500,” he said. “If you have a $9,000 deductible, if that bothers me, and I’m stinking about it, think about what it’s doing for the hardworking men and women in this country. That’s not affordable health care.”
People of all ages came to the event, excited to attend one last rally for a controversial candidate who has turned politics on its head. For Donald Rings, an 81-year-old resident of Grove City since 1953 and Ohio State alumnus, this was the first time he had the chance to see Trump or a campaign surrogate. So eager was he, while waiting for it to start, he stood between parked cars on Broadway, the main artery through the city’s downtown, holding a “The silent majority stands with Trump” sign.
“I sent $500 in,” Rings said. “Right away. I thought that was important to get things moving.”
Rings said he wishes that Trump “kept his mouth shut” at certain times, but that he has been energized by the candidate and wishes members of the Republican establishment who still fail to support Trump, like Ohio Gov. John Kasich, listened to the will of Republican voters.
Michelle Paduchik, whose brother-in-law is Robert Scott, the Trump campaign’s Ohio chair, came out with her family, including her two children. Support for Trump in Grove City, Paduchik feels, has increased in the last few weeks. Her son Andrew,16, agreed. He said he’s seeing support among his high-school classmates. In his German class, they held a mock election. Trump received 17 votes, Clinton two and Libertarian Gary Johnson got one.
Both Paduchik and Andrew were both impressed with Trump Jr.’s speech. They believe, at the least, that Trump will carry Ohio. That might not be the case, though, if the younger Trump ran against his father, Andrew joked.
“I think he could beat his dad,” Andrew said laughing.
After finishing his speech, Trump Jr. took a photo with the entire crowd, before heading through a crease staffers made toward an olive green SUV, waiting to whisk him to his next stop, in Urbana, Ohio. He took selfies with supporters, signed two pictures and posed for a photo with on-hand police officers, at his suggestion. He again said thank you, then stepped into the car, marked only by a lone Trump sticker on the driver-side door. It quickly drove away. As this turbulent election cycle nears its finish, there were other places he needed to be.
For more on this election, check out Lantern TV’s special, “Race to the Presidency,” here: