Donald Trump attends a Bucks County fundraiser and a rally in Lehigh County in battleground Pennsylvania

Anthony R. Wood, Aliya Schneider and Jesse Bunch, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Political News

Former President Donald J. Trump told thousands of supporters at a campaign rally in Lehigh County on Saturday night that Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel was a symptom of U.S. “weakness” and would never have happened if he were still president.

“God bless the people of Israel; they’re under attack right now,” Trump said, adding that neither the Iranian nor the Oct. 7 Hamas assaults would have occurred “if we were in office. You know that. They know that. Everybody knows that.”

He brought his campaign to the Keystone State just two days before jury selection begins in Manhattan for what he called a “communist show trial,” the first of four criminal prosecutions he is facing.

Trump’s remarks to the enthusiastic crowd, which endured chilly gusts to 30 mph, came a few hours after he attended a fundraiser in Bucks County, where he was greeted by hundreds of flag-waving supporters. Both areas are battlegrounds likely to be critical to his chances of recapturing the White House.

In Bucks County, those who couldn’t attend the invitation-only fundraiser with tickets starting at $2,500 stood behind police tape outside the Newtown Athletic Club and cheered as the motorcade drove by. However, it wasn’t clear in which car Trump was riding, and many of the supporters appeared to be disappointed that they couldn’t catch a glimpse of him.

A smaller group, some with smartphones poised for video, had similar luck when the cars left the club about 5:15 p.m., although two women said they saw Trump flash a thumbs-up behind the tinted windows of one of the cars.


In any event, Kelly Ruhfass, 60, of Newtown, wearing pink lipstick and a matching jacket, said she was thrilled to have come there. “It’s good to come and be around like-minded people,” she said, “because we feel so strongly about what’s happening in this country.

“It gets us excited about what’s coming.”

Trump won Pennsylvania, a critical swing state, by a membrane-thin margin in November 2016 and narrowly lost to Democrat Joe Biden four years later. Although Trump already is the presumptive Republican nominee, the April 23 primary may hold clues to the depths of his Republican support in the state.

On Saturday night, he clearly was preaching to the choir. He invoked the case of Danilo Cavalcante, who escaped from Chester County Prison in late August and was on the run for two weeks. Cavalcante is an undocumented immigrant who fled to the United States because he was wanted in a 2017 homicide in his native Brazil.


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