Trump Jr. Calls for Support of Down-Ballot Republicans

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Donald Trump Jr. touted the record of his father, President Donald Trump, and delivered angry critiques of Democratic nominee Joe Biden, the news media and leading Democrats during a local appearance Monday.

Trump Jr. addressed a crowd of more than 400 supporters at Blue Wolf Events at the Maronite Center. Those in attendance largely did not wear masks or observe social distancing guidelines during the event.    

President Trump has built the strongest economy ever seen, with the highest number of new business startups, an economy that encourages entrepreneurs, Trump Jr. said. His father’s administration pulled the country out of “endless wars” and is negotiating peace deals in the Middle East.    

“He’s willing to fight for you,” he said.  

Trump Jr. and local Trump booster Geno DiFabio, who introduced him, called on the crowd to support Republicans in down-ballot races, including former state Rep. Christina Hagan, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio.     

“We’re going to replace a congressman. Isn’t that great?” DiFabio said. “Christina is going to knock the rust off the Rust Belt. … We’re going to be the place all the politicians stop not to show broken buildings but to show the progress that real leadership can bring.”  

“My father needs people fighting for him,” Trump Jr. said. “We need the House. We need to hold the Senate. When we do that, that’s a mandate.” 

Trump Jr. noted that DiFabio was a former Democrat who, like many Americans, realized that today’s Democratic Party is not like the one of their parents or grandparents. 

“Today’s Democrat Party would throw John F. Kennedy in prison for being alt-right,” Trump Jr. said. “This Democrat Party doesn’t represent the hardworking men and women of this county anymore.”  

“What about the hardworking men and women in Youngstown that lost their jobs – 5,000 Lordstown people, families separated?” an unidentified protestor shouted in response.   

“Donald Trump created the most jobs in the history of the United States. Donald Trump righted the policies that destroyed jobs,” Trump Jr. responded.

Trump Jr. took issue with Biden’s claims about the various issues that he planned to address if he wins the election, including fixing race relations in the country, and questioned why he hadn’t done so during his 47 years as an elected official. “Half a century is a long time to wait,” he said.  

He further accused Biden of being “camouflage” for more radical Democrats that Trump Jr. claimed will actually be in charge. “You’re not a moderate with Kamala Harris as your VP,” he said. 

Trump Jr. dismissed characterizations of Biden as “Blue Collar Joe” as “nonsense.” His father, who was a real estate developer before running for president in 2016, made him learn the family business by doing things like running Caterpillar equipment on sites.   

“My father’s theory was if you want to build a building, you better damn well know how to dig the foundation,” he said. 

He contrasted his experiences with those of Biden’s son, Hunter, who said got a six-figure job out of college with MBNA, what was at the time the largest bank in Delaware, the state his father represented in the U.S. Senate. Trump Jr. also brought up allegedly improper – and debunked by fact checkers – business deals involving Hunter Biden and foreign governments, including a $1.5 billion Chinese investment fund and $3.5 million he supposedly received from a Russian businesswoman associated with Vladimir Putin. 

He further accused the mainstream media and social media of covering for “Biden and his corruption,” in contrast to “trying to throw me in jail” over a 2016 meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer.     

“This election, it’s not just the Second Amendment that’s on the table. It’s your First Amendment, if they can hide a scandal like this” he warned. “Everything’s on the table because they’re coming for it all.” 

Those attending were pleased with what they heard at the event. 

“It was very inspiring,” Alberta Popovec of Boardman said. She was impressed with what Trump has done and how he looks out for the country. 

She also was intrigued by the prospect of Trump Jr. potentially succeeding his father in the White House. “It would be wonderful if he could carry on from what his father did, and if he has the same concerns and interests that his father had, about the American people and our country. That would be wonderful,” she said.  

Trump Jr. quickly deflected the suggestion during the event.

“Let’s worry about 2020 first, guys,” he said. “We’ve got eight more days. Let’s just get through this one.”   

Trump Jr. spoke “exactly like his father,” Cathy Lukasko of Brookfield said. The former Delphi salaried employee also was pleased with the recent announcement that the Trump administration would look into the pension issue involving Delphi retiree pensions

“The Democrats took our money and the Republicans are going to give us back our money,” she said.   

Shortly after the event ended, the Ohio Democratic Party sent out a statement blasting the visit by the president’s son and his father’s response to the coronavirus.

The statement reminded people that this was the first visit to the Mahoning Valley by a member of the Trump family since the president’s July 2017 rally in Youngstown, when he famously urged residents not to sell their houses and that he would be bringing jobs back to the area. The following autumn, General Motors announced plans to close its Lordstown plant.  

“Haven’t the people of the Mahoning Valley suffered enough? Working families across the region have lost their health, lives and livelihoods because of Donald Trump’s four years of chaos and incompetence. Now, his own administration is admitting they have no intention of getting this pandemic under control,” ODP Chairman David Pepper said in the statement. 

About 120 chairs were set up at the start of the event, though most of the people attending the event stood. Admittance to the event was cut off at 465, Youngstown Health Commissioner Erin Bishop said Monday.  

Under the state’s mass gathering guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, events at banquet halls such as the Maronite Center can have up to 300 guests, but events protected by the First Amendment – such as political gatherings – are exempt from those limits. Trump campaign representatives informed city officials they would not cap attendance at 300, Bishop said.  

Fire department inspectors went to the Maronite Center over the weekend and determined that, if social distancing was observed, a maximum total of 500 individuals could attend. 

The Maronite Center posted signs about social distancing and had masks available for people as they entered, said Joe Rzonsa, owner of Blue Wolf Events. 

Under guidelines from the Mahoning County Health Department, business operators are instructed not to confront individuals who refuse to wear masks because of “contention people seem to associate with any particular mandate,” he said. 

A couple individuals were refused entry to the event because they would not permit their temperature to be taken, Rzonsa said.  

Pictured: Donald Trump Jr. speaks in support of his father, President Donald Trump, and local Republicans during a campaign event in Austintown Monday.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.