Doylestown, PA
32°
5:30 am8:33 pm EDT
June 17, 2024 10:56 am

Local News

Trump 2024 campaign opens office in Philly, its first in Pennsylvania

U.S. Rep. Wesley Hunt (R-TX), Pennsylvania Republican Party Chairman Lawrence Tabas and former GOP U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Bartos at the Trump campaign’s office opening in the Holmesburg neighborhood of Philadelphia June 4, 2024 (Credit: Pennsylvania Capital-Star/John Cole)

John Cole, Pennsylvania Capital-Star
June 4, 2024

PHILADELPHIA — Former President Donald Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign opened its first office in Pennsylvania on Tuesday in a former optician’s office in Philadelphia’s Holmesburg neighborhood. 

“It’s important to recognize that we need new leadership in America, we need new leadership in Pennsylvania,” Pennsylvania Republican Party Chairman Lawrence Tabas said at the office opening in Northeast Philadelphia. “Bidenomics has been a failure.” 

The event, dubbed the “Trump Force 47 Office Grand Opening” was the first office opening in coordination with the Trump campaign, Pennsylvania Republican Party, and the Republican National Committee. 

U.S. Rep. Wesley Hunt (R-TX), billed as the “keynote speaker” of the office opening, stood at a podium with a sign reading “Black Americans for Trump.” 

“Black issues are American issues,” Hunt said, repeating his comment for emphasis.

Hunt said Black Americans hate what’s currently happening at the southern border, inflation, energy prices, feeling unsafe, and “being on the verge of World War III.” 

“It is time for our country to coalesce around President Trump to save us from the brink of disaster,” Hunt said. 

Tabas added that the GOP’s policies are not focused on just one group. 

“Our policies are designed to make Americans have better lives, not a particular or a single group, but everyone in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the United States, that is our goal,” Tabas said.

The 3rd division of the city’s 64th ward, where the new Trump campaign office is located, went for Biden in 2020. He beat Trump in that election by 15%. But some neighboring divisions in the city’s 64th Ward narrowly supported Trump in the 2020 election over Biden.

Philadelphia Republican Party Chairman Vince Fenerty told the Capital-Star Tuesday that despite the voter advantage of Democrats — registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 7 to 1 in the state’s most populated city— he believes Philly Republicans can be “the deciding factor” in putting Trump over the top.

Fenerty didn’t specify what vote total he believes Trump would need to win Philadelphia, but he expressed confidence that vote total would increase from previous elections. 

“I really haven’t calculated the number of votes, but I guarantee he’ll get more than he did last time, many many more, tens of thousands more and I’m not being overenthusiastic on it,” he told the Capital-Star. 

When Biden flipped Pennsylvania back into the victory column for Democrats in 2020, he defeated Trump by 471,050 votes in Philadelphia. Despite this large margin, it was an improvement for Trump in comparison to the 2016 election, when Hillary Clinton defeated him by 475,277 votes in the City of Brotherly Love.

Trump, now the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, won Pennsylvania’s April primary election. But former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who had already exited from the race, still registered 18% in the GOP primary in Philadelphia and double digits in all of the surrounding collar counties. The Biden campaign has made an effort to appeal to those voters. Haley has since endorsed Trump’s candidacy, but urged him to court those who supported her in the primary election.

Despite railing against mail-in voting for the past few years, the Trump campaign announced on Tuesday that it is launching its “Swamp the Vote USA” operation intended to encourage voters to vote by mail and vote early in the 2024 election. 

“I spoke with him a few weeks ago and our goal is to win outside the margin of cheating, by any means necessary,” Hunt told reporters, when asked about the change in strategy. “We have to win outside the margin of cheating.” 

Biden significantly outpaced Trump with mail-in voting in 2020 and despite claims by Trump and other members of the GOP, there was no evidence the contest was “rigged” or “stolen.”

When pressed by reporters about Republicans’ refusal to certify the 2020 election results, Hunt said it “looks very fishy” that Trump had an early lead, but Biden ultimately won. Hunt was not elected until 2022. 

“Before I went to bed that night, at 1 o’clock in the morning, President Trump was winning in Pennsylvania,” he said. “And then I woke up and he lost. That’s weird.”

The Biden campaign blasted the Trump campaign on Tuesday for having out-of-state surrogates headline the  Pennsylvania office opening. 

“Today, Byron Donalds and Wesley Hunt will continue their pathetic attempts to cover for Donald Trump’s broken promises and failed outreach to Black communities,” Democratic National Committee senior spokesperson Marcus W. Robinson said in a statement. “As president, Trump gave handouts to the ultra-wealthy and tried to rip away health care and slash affordable housing programs — all at the expense of working-class Black Americans. Donalds’ and Hunt’s desperate lies might help them pass Trump’s extreme MAGA litmus test, but it won’t make up for his disastrous agenda to put Black Americans last.” 

Trump has made three appearances in Pennsylvania so far in 2024, including one in February in Philadelphia to announce a new line of Trump-branded sneakers. His most recent visit to the state was for a rally in April in the Lehigh ValleyTrump rallied supporters in Wildwood, New Jersey in May to a crowd that included a plethora of Pennsylvanians.

Trump encouraged voting by mail during his Wildwood rally, but not during his Pennsylvania appearances in 2024. His ability to campaign was somewhat limited in recent weeks, as he was in a New York courtroom for his hush-money trial. On Thursday he was convicted on 34 felony counts, and is scheduled to be sentenced July 11.

Trump’s conviction was not a key point of discussion during the speeches at the office opening on Tuesday. 

The Biden campaign made two separate appearances in the Keystone State last week. On Wednesday, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris rallied in Philadelphia to announce the launch of the Black Voters for Biden-Harris coalition. On Saturday, First Lady Jill Biden visited Pittsburgh and emphasized the importance of the 2024 election for LGBTQ rights at the city’s Pride celebration. 

President Biden has visited Pennsylvania eight times in 2024 so far, while Harris has made five appearances. 

The Biden campaign has opened 24 coordinated offices in Pennsylvania in 2024, spread across the commonwealth, with three offices in the city of Philadelphia. 

Fenerty said Tuesday that the Trump campaign will have additional offices in other sections of the city and other parts of the state.

“Someone else said there’s a lot more Joe Biden offices than there are Donald Trump offices,” he said. “Well, people are going to jump on the Trump train and that locomotive is going to run them over. We’re going to open offices.” 

Following the office opening, Hunt was scheduled to participate at an event titled “Congress, Cognac, & Cigars” with U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL), and former ESPN host Michele Tafoya to discuss how Black men’s votes would affect the election.

“We are talking about getting at least 25 to 30 percent of the Black male vote,” Hunt said to reporters on Tuesday evening. “That’s what we have to do.”

Donalds has been reported as a potential vice presidential candidate for Trump.

Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kim Lyons for questions: info@penncapital-star.com. Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.

This article is republished from Pennsylvania Capital-Star under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.