PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made a stop in Pittsburgh Wednesday for a pair of campaign events, one in Oakland and the other downtown.
He taped part of a television show in Oakland first, and then he held a rally at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center amid protests this evening. He arrived in the afternoon with a motorcade larger than many presidents, KDKA’s Jon Delano reported.
Supporters started lining up at 8 a.m. at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall for the 5:30 p.m. taping of Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News.
“I got up at 3:30 [a.m.] to get here at 8 [a.m.] because I come from Uniontown,” said one Trump supporter.
Supporters of the Republican presidential candidate say they believe he can restore jobs.
“Our concern for our grandkids in this world,” said one member of the group Seniors for Trump. “I believe that Donald Trump will bring jobs and make this country safe.”
This was the first appearance by Trump in Pittsburgh.
KDKA’s Jon Delano Reports:
Many of his supporters began gathering early for his rally at the Convention Center as well.
“He’s not taking money from anyone,” said one woman waiting in line at the Convention Center. “He doesn’t have to kiss anybody’s butt. And you know… he’s very strong and he’s for the people, the working people.”
At the rally, he told supporters he intends to bring back Pittsburgh’s steel and coal industry. He also said Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is a friend of his.
“We love Pittsburgh,” said Trump. “We are going to bring back your coal industry and your steel industry. We’re gonna bring them back. I know Pittsburgh, have a lot of friends; Big Ben is a friend of mine. We love Big Ben.”
Trump also referenced Penn State and the late Joe Paterno, with the comments puzzling some of his supporters.
“How’s Joe Paterno? We gonna bring that back? How about that whole deal? We love Penn State,” said Trump.
Among the issues he discussed were the economy and fair trade.
“I’m so happy that I was able to be here to say, ‘Welcome to Pittsburgh, Trump,’ and we are,” said Trump supporter Mim Bizic, of Moon Township. “I’m a woman and I’m gonna vote for him.”
It wasn’t all support for Trump though, several anti-Trump groups protested his visit.
At the Convention Center, protesters blocked the main entrance inside, and police had to form a line to allow his supporters in through another entrance.
Supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement began to march on Soldiers and Sailors Hall just before 5 p.m. as Trump supporters were being let into the Hannity show taping.
The Black Lives Matter supporters brought signs and were chanting. There was some strong language reported and Pittsburgh Police were on the scene, but things remained non-violent. About 100 protesters gathered in Oakland.
Other protesters took to the streets, making their way through city streets, slowing down drivers and Port Authority buses.
Another of the protests was led by Braddock Mayor John Fetterman who is a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.
Fetterman says he’s against Trump’s racist and sexist stances, as well as what he calls his “ignorant rhetoric towards immigrants.” The group marched to the Convention Center after a rally.
Pittsburgh Public Safety officials continually monitored social media for any hot spots during Trump’s visit and had contingency plans in place for any trouble.
“We will continue to monitor and validate the credibility of these threats throughout the day, and will respond accordingly. As always, our first and primary concern is the safety of the City,” Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said in a statement.
The Pennsylvania primary will be held on April 26. Seventeen pledged delegates are at stake for the winner of the Republican primary. An additional 54 unpledged delegates are running in 18 congressional districts across the state.