At Packed Rally in Pennsylvania, Trump Points to Concerns Over Unsolicited Mail Ballots

President promises jobs and safety, urges voters to check their votes in person
September 4, 2020 Updated: September 4, 2020

President Donald Trump on Thursday raised concerns over the viability of unsolicited ballots as he spoke to a packed crowd at a campaign rally in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

Trump reiterated what he said in North Carolina the day prior, calling on voters to go to the polls in person after they have mailed in their ballot to check that their vote has been counted. He appeared to hint that mail-in votes are susceptible to being thwarted or manipulated.

“Sign your mail in ballots, okay. You sign it, send it in, and you have to follow it,” Trump said at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, the venue for the rally.

He continued, “And if on election day or early voting that [vote] is not tabulated and counted, you go vote. And then if for some reason after that—it shouldn’t take that long—it [the mailed vote] comes in, they’re not going to be able to tabulate it because you will have [already] voted.

“You have to make sure your vote counts, because the only way they’re going to beat us is by doing that kind of stuff. I’m trying to be nice,” Trump said.

Pennsylvania is regarded as an important battleground state where Trump won by a narrow margin in the 2016 presidential election by about 44,000 votes. Westmoreland County, where Trump held the rally on Thursday, played a key role in the 2016 election, Trump had 63.5 percent of the vote over Hillary Clinton’s 32.5 percent, a margin of about 56,800 votes.

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe, Penn. on Sept. 3, 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Trump expressed his concerns over universal mail-in voting, which he called “unsolicited ballots.” He has repeatedly expressed his concern about unsolicited ballots, saying they could lead to a surge in election fraud.

“Solicited’s okay because that’s when you’re asking [for the ballot] and you want it, then you send in the necessary paperwork and the documentation and you get the ballot and you fill it out. … But you can’t, this whole thing with the unsolicited … Unsolicited means you’re sitting there … they throw these things in your face, and the [voter] lists are inaccurate, and people are dead, and dogs have gotten ballots, they have,” Trump said, to a crowd that responded with laughter.

“And they know I’m right, and everybody knows I’m right, and they say I’m right behind closed doors. It’s a disgrace what they do to our country.”

trump campaign
Supporters of President Donald Trump cheer during a campaign event at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe, Penn. on Sept. 3, 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

He continued, “It’s really unfair because our people have enthusiasm, they’re going out to vote, they’re all going out to vote.”

He went on, questioning certain lack of checks in the voting system, “They even have a provision where you don’t have to verify signatures, what is going on? And they have another provision in some states where you can harvest—that’s where you can grab them altogether and drop them—and in Nevada, they actually have a provision where they don’t have to be counted til 7 days after the election.”

Trump’s reelection campaign has recently sued New JerseyNevada, and Montana for expanding access to mail-in voting.

Trump campaign director of communications Tim Murtaugh said in an emailed statement to The Epoch Times earlier on Thursday: “President Trump has been working tirelessly to fight the radical changes to voting laws Democrats and radical left-wing judges have been forcing through mere months before an election. The President is now drawing attention to the reckless election law tampering Democrats are doing in states across the country, creating the very real opportunity for people to vote twice, as we know happened in Philadelphia.

“President Trump encourages supporters to vote absentee-by-mail early, and then show up in person at the polls or the local registrar to verify that their vote has already been counted,” Murtaugh added.

Kayleigh Mcenany
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany holds a press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Sept. 3, 2020. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at a press briefing on Thursday afternoon, in commenting on Trump’s call on voters to check their votes, “This is about verifying that every vote is counted, because we know voters are disenfranchised.”

“Just in the 2020 presidential primary, for instance, there were 100,000 ballots rejected in California—mail-in ballots,” she continued. “In New York, one in five—think about that—one in five mail-in ballots were rejected, a total of 84,000 ballots rejected in New York City alone.

“And we know the thin margins by which elections are decided, and we also know that, as research has shown, young, black, and Hispanic voters are more likely to have their mail-in ballots rejected. That’s according to a Washington Post article,” she added. “So the President wants enfranchisement, not disenfranchisement.”

trump latrobe penn
President Donald Trump addresses supporters during a campaign event at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe, Penn. on Sept. 3, 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Packed Crowd

Hundreds of people turned up to the rally, most wearing red MAGA hats. The crowd filled the event space with several hundreds in the hangar, overflowing to a crowd of about a thousand or more outside the area, according to reports.

“We have thousands of people behind this hangar, thousands, and we’re trying to get them in, I’d love to get them in, it’s an airport, let them go to the runways,” the president joked at one point during his rally. “We’re doing the hangar thing now because the arenas can’t do it because of the pandemic,” the president noted.

Donald Trump Holds Campaign Event In Latrobe, PA
President Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a campaign rally at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe, Penn., on Sept. 3, 2020. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

Hours prior, hundreds of people were waiting outside the airport, and cars headed to the rally were seen locked in traffic. The traffic was backed up for hours, according to CBS Pittsburgh. The outlet also reported that some supporters arrived at the venue the night before.

Trump expressed confidence that he will again win in Pennsylvania. He accused Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden of wanting to surrender Americans’ jobs to China.

“Joe Biden wants to surrender your jobs to China, you know that … He wants to surrender your nation to the radical left-wing mob, he’s trying to change now, you understand, because we’re going up and he’s dropping like a rock in water,” Trump said.

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a campaign rally at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe, Penn. on Sept. 3, 2020. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

“I will keep your jobs in America, and I’ll bring rioters, looters, violent extremists, anarchists—we will bring them to justice, that’s what we’re doing right now,” he said. “We have over 400 right now under arrest, these are bad people.”

“Biden will never be able to protect your jobs or your family. He is a puppet of the socialist, Marxist, and the cop-hating extremists,” Trump said.

Trump thanked the Boilermakers Local 154 union, which has 2,500 active and retired members in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, for their endorsement.

John J. Hughes, Business Manager for Boilermakers Local 154, wrote in the endorsement (pdf) the day prior, “Boilermaker jobs specifically rely on coal-fired power generation and we strongly encourage the advancement of Carbon Capture technologies which can secure future jobs for our members. … I am happy to support your administration as you have proven to be a true friend of the Boilermakers, and I wish you the best of luck in your campaign.”

‘Price Transparency … Bigger than Healthcare’

The president hinted at a major action he will be signing on Jan. 1, 2021, called “price transparency.”

“We’ve signed something that’s incredibly—you’re going to see, some people say it’s bigger than healthcare, and I signed it. Unfortunately it takes place on January 1st, you better elect me!” Trump said, to applause. “It’s called price transparency.”

“You’ll be able to negotiate, you’ll be able to do things you’re not even able to do now with hospitals … it could be bigger than healthcare,” Trump said.

“You’re going to see some unbelievable price reductions and that includes on drugs,” Trump said.

Trump throughout his speech revisited the multiple accomplishments of his administration, taking intermittent jabs at his opponent Biden.

He promised a rapid “return to full employment, soaring wages, and record prosperity,” and more support for law enforcement and public safety.

Supporters of President Donald Trump cheer during a campaign event at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe, Penn., on Sept. 3, 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

“This election is about safety and this election is about jobs,” Trump said.

“We will hire more police, increase penalties for assaults on law enforcement, surge federal prosecutors into high crime communities and ban sanctuary cities,” he said. “We will appoint prosecutors, judges, and justices who believe in enforcing the law not their own political agenda, we will uphold religious liberty, free speech, and the right to keep and bear arms. We will strike down terrorists who threaten our citizens, we will not let them threaten our citizens, and we will keep America out of endless foreign wars.”

He added, “We will restore patriotic education to our schools and we’ll teach our children to love our country, honor our history, and always respect our great American flag. And we will live by the timeless words of our national motto—in God we Trust.”

“For years we had a president who apologized for America, now you have a president standing up for Americans, standing up for the great people of Pennsylvania.”

Follow Mimi on Twitter: @MimiNguyenLy