Live updates: President Trump visits Harrisburg International Airport
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Muted crowd reaction to Trump court pick Amy Coney Barrett
As Trump walked out of the White House to make his Supreme Court nominee announcement, a crowd waiting to join the rally cheered as his image appeared on the screen.
Less than three hours from seeing him in person, the crowd erupted in cheers. When he named Amy Coney Barrett, the crowd didn’t react. Most who were asked prior to the announcement had already heard the leaked news; others said they trusted his decision.
For Judy and Andy Fasnacht of Gap in Lancaster County, the Supreme Court selections Trump has made, including Barrett, involve the protection of the constitution as it was originally written.
“It’s important that he fills the seat now because of what could happen,” Judy said.
They’re worried a close election with contested votes could hand the presidential decision to the Supreme Court.
“We’re praying for a landslide so there’s no question whatsoever,” Judy said.
The justices should be interpreting the constitution as it was written, “not as a living, breathing document that changes over time,” Andy Fasnacht said.
Neither of them care about abortion rights as a topic for the court.
“There’s no single issue, just the Constitution,” Andy said.
- Kim Strong
Trump supporters: 'We are Latino gays'
Leticia Nieves knew of Trump when she was growing up in Brooklyn, and she’s shocked at the derogatory names he has been called.
“As a Puerto Rican, I knew he wasn’t a racist. He was the most down-to-earth businessman,” she said.
“We are Latino gays,” said her fiancée, Anna Manganello of Long Island, New York.
“We’ve been with him from the beginning,” said Nieves. “He’s pretty much saving the world.”
The issues he has tackled, in their eyes, are human trafficking, peace deals with other countries and closing the wealth gap.
- Kim Strong
A reunion for Trump supporters
The Trump rally served as a reunion for former high school classmates Bill Matsumara of Philadelphia and Gary Keeney of Littlestown.
They’ve been voting for Republicans since they turned 18 in Westminster, Maryland, from Reagan to Trump.
“We believe he’s genuinely concerned about America and about what’s best for all Americans,” Keeney said. In 2016, “I was a big supporter of the wall. Illegal immigration in our country can really get out of control.”
Matsumara saw then-candidate Trump in 2016 at a Virginia Beach rally. “I like the way the man thinks. He believes in what I believe in.”
- Kim Strong
Supporters came from across the region
Gate attendants said they arrived about 8:30 this morning, and there were already several hundred people waiting to enter.
As the crowd chanted, “Four more years,” Rich Baehrle strolled through security decked out in a patriotic outfit and a Donald Trump sign.
He had driven nearly four hours from his home in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to join the thousands of Trump supporters winding their way into the Harrisburg International Airport lot where the president will speak at 7:30.
“I like the way he stands up for the country,” Baehrle said. “He’s a constitutionalist like I am.”
And that’s why Baehrle likes the president’s expected choice for the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a favorite of religious conservatives. “She seems like she’ll not legislate from the bench,” he said.
Trump planned to announce his choice to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the White House at 5 p.m. before heading to Harrisburg.
Baehrle, a real estate agent, said the constitution is in jeopardy, especially in light of the pandemic shutdowns. His business is strong this year, but many others in New Jersey are hurting.
Stacy Garrity arrived at the Trump rally just after a pig roast in Chambersburg, a political event she added to her schedule as a candidate for treasurer in Pennsylvania.
Decked out in Trump gear, she walked in with retired Chester County sheriff, Carolyn “Bunny” Welsh, who was there “to support the best president the country has ever seen.”
As the Village People’s “Macho Man” played over loudspeakers, Garrity said, “It’s nice to get out with people who share our Pennsylvania values.”
She identified the Supreme Court choices as the most important work Trump has done.
“I’m very excited for a Christian, pro-life constitutionalist on the bench,”!Garrity said of Trump’s likely nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.
Mark Carrol voted for Trump four years ago but wasn’t convinced he was the right person for the job. He’s convinced now.
“I think the country needed someone to shake it up,” said Carrol of Annapolis, Maryland. “He did exactly what he said he would do.”
Carrol drove two hours for the rally - his first - with his wife and friends, parking next to a group called “Bikers for Trump” that had driven through a downpour to attend. The atmosphere felt to him like a football game.
He smoked just outside the gates to the event, as mostly unmasked guests walked by him. He had heard of Trump’s nominee, before the he official announcement. “I like the idea that she’s a woman, and a smart one at that.”
A small contingent of protesters have gathered amid hundreds of Trump supporters and dozens of vendors.
- Kim Strong
Sen. Bob Casey reacts to Supreme Court nominee
U.S. Senator Bob Casey, D-Pa., released the following statement in response to President Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court:
"Since President Trump has pledged to only nominate candidates from a list approved by two far-right organizations, the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, it’s unsurprising that he has nominated an individual with an extreme judicial philosophy. If confirmed, Judge Amy Coney Barrett will almost certainly vote to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which will adversely impact working families, children and seniors. I cannot support a Supreme Court nominee who would rip health care away from tens of millions, undermine the rights of workers and do the bidding of large corporations."
Biden: Pa. families suffered because of Trump's 'failed leadership'
Vice President Joe Biden gave the following statement on President Trump’s Visit to Harrisburg:
"This week, because of President Trump’s refusal to take strong, swift action to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the 200,000th American and the 8,000th Pennsylvanian died of COVID-19. To make matters worse, President Trump is actively trying to strip away health care for Pennsylvanians when they need it most and putting at risk protections for the 5 million Pennsylvanians with preexisting conditions, including Pennsylvanians experiencing long-term side effects from COVID-19. This crisis didn’t have to be this bad. Were it not for President Trump’s failed leadership, thousands of Pennsylvania families would not have suffered such horrific loss and countless others would not be faced with economic hardship, including the nearly 20,000 people out of work in Dauphin County today."
President Donald J. Trump is holding a rally today at Harrisburg International Airport in Middletown. The "Great American Comeback" rally starts at 7 p.m.
Trump held a rally Tuesday at Pittsburgh International Airport in Moon Township, where he focused his 90-minute speech on the economy, energy and predicting a win here in November. The Harrisburg campaign stop marks the president's fifth visit to Pennsylvania this month. In addition to the Pittsburgh-area visit earlier this week, he was in Westmoreland County just before Labor Day, visited the Flight 93 National Memorial on Sept. 11, and participated in a live town hall Sept. 15 at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, for his part, has been to Pennsylvania four times this month: in Harrisburg on Labor Day, at a CNN town hall in Scranton on Sept. 17, in Philadelphia Sunday to speak out against Trump and Senate Republicans filling a Supreme Court vacancy before the election, and on Wednesday for a virtual bus tour through Pennsylvania.
How to watch live
The president's campaign website will host a livestream of his campaign stop in southcentral Pennsylvania. You can find the Harrisburg livestream here.
Why Harrisburg International Airport?
Pennsylvania is a key battleground state and, with its 20 electoral votes, is considered one of the most consequential in the presidential election.
Trump is unlikely to drive up votes in the big population centers of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, so he'll need a strong turnout again in blue-collar counties and among his Republican base.
Trump in 2016 won Pennsylvania by a narrow 44,000 votes. He was the first Republican presidential nominee to win the state since 1988.
To rally support ahead of the Nov. 3 election, he's been holding outdoor rallies at airport hangars, saying he enjoys the convenience of flying in, walking off the plane to give his speech and then leaving.
What will Trump talk about?
The Harrisburg visit will come about two hours after Trump is expected to announce his nominee to succeed U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Sept.18. It seems likely he will tout his choice and his decision to push for confirmation before the election.
Based on recent speeches, Trump is also expected to focus on the economy and energy policy, areas in which polls show he still has a slight edge on Biden. Polls suggest he trails Biden in every other category, including trustworthiness and his handling of the coronavirus.
To get a better idea of what he might say at Harrisburg International Airport, read this coverage of his recent campaign stop at Pittsburgh International Airport.
Gov. Wolf urges Trump not to hold 'unsafe rallies'
Governor Tom Wolf urged President Donald Trump to abide by COVID-19 mitigation guidance when visiting the state and forgo holding unsafe rallies in Pennsylvania.
The governor made the following statement:
“Three weeks ago, the Trump campaign held a rally here in Pennsylvania that violated the commonwealth’s public health guidance by disregarding gathering limits, mask orders and social distancing guidelines. My administration did not make an exception for that rally, and is still awaiting a response to a letter sent to the Trump campaign on September 10, 2020, asking them to abide by the commonwealth’s COVID-19 mitigation measures in order to keep our residents safe. Again this past Tuesday, the president held a large rally in close quarters here in Pennsylvania. Once again, I am requesting that the President of the United States not endanger Pennsylvanians by holding unsafe rallies that will put Pennsylvania communities at risk."
This article originally appeared on York Daily Record: Live updates: President Trump visits Harrisburg International Airport