Donald Trump is usually in the spotlight.
But for a few minutes Friday, he took a back seat in central Pennsylvania.
Michael McLanahan stepped up to the microphone in front of about 3,000 Trump supporters in the Blair County Convention Center and made a plea to vote for the Republican nominee. The chair of Hollidaysburg-based McLanahan Corp., a business for 181 years, told guests that the past eight years had been more difficult than any other period in the company’s history.
George Sidney, the company’s chief operating officer and president, sent a sobering message to the crowd next, saying that the company survived the Civil War, both World Wars and the Great Depression.
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“We are scared to death,” Sidney said. “We can’t survive four more years of Obama regulation. ... We’re very serious when we say we can’t sustain four more years after what we’ve endured the last eight years.”
Trump, after McLanahan and Sidney warmed up the crowd, kept the momentum going.
The Republican presidential nominee promised to bring back jobs by stripping regulations and taxes. He pledged to make it easier to start and grow businesses. And he warned the crowd that four years of a Democratic president meant higher unemployment in Pennsylvania and more jobs overseas.
It’s a message the businessman turned politician has trumpeted throughout the state.
But Trump also shared his concerns, including Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s emails, saying “if she gets away with it,” it will be her single greatest achievement. He claimed the National Security Agency has her missing emails and asked the crowd if the NSA should release them. She turned over about 30,000 to the State Department, but her lawyers deleted emails deemed to be private.
He took aim at media, claiming that the press “piles on” him, and President Barack Obama, calling him “terrible, just terrible” for America.
Trump warned his supporters, too, that Clinton as president would give her the ability to pick Supreme Court justices, estimating that the next president would choose three to five justices. He said he would pick justices that would protect the Constitution.
And in a plea to supporters, he told them to be vigilant.
“Do not just vote,” he said. “Go around and look and watch other polling places and make sure everything is 100 percent fine.”
He told them the election could be rigged.
“It’s the only way they can beat me.”