Donald Trump Jr. visits Hollidaysburg

Rally goers cheer president’s son

Mirror photo by Ike Fredregill / Donald Trump Jr. greets a couple hundred attendees at the McLanahan Corp. facility in Hollidaysburg at an event hosted to spur support for President Donald Trump’s re-election.

HOLLIDAYSBURG — Donald Trump Jr. roused a couple hundred people at a rally Tuesday in Hollidaysburg, supporting his father’s re-election campaign.

Hosted by the McLanahan Corp. facility, the fanfare was opened by U.S. Rep. John Joyce, R-13th District, who focused his speech on criticizing former Vice President Joe Biden and his family.

“Trump will create jobs in Bellwood, not Beijing,” Joyce told a cheering crowd. “Joe (Biden) is creating jobs in China.”

Rolling with the anti-liberal momentum, Joyce derided Gov. Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 policies, which was met with a volley of hurrahs.

“We are the steel curtain behind (Trump’s) father,” Joyce concluded before introducing the president’s eldest son to the stage.

Trump picked up where Joyce left off, focusing most of his speech on why Biden and his family would be worse for the American people than President Donald Trump.

“The wealthiest woman in Russia gave Hunter (Biden) $3.5 million — what do you think that was for?” Trump said. “(It was) money that U.S. banks would not take, because it was tied to human trafficking and prostitution groups across Europe.”

The allegation Hunter Biden received $3.5 million from Moscow’s former mayor’s wife, Elena Baturina, was first mentioned in a Republican-led committee report, which did not clarify if Hunter Biden received the funds or why the funds were sent to an investment firm co-founded by Hunter Biden.

While most attendees wore face masks, little mention was made of the pandemic or precautions. Social distancing was actively discouraged as one usher told rally goers “don’t be like the Democrats, get close and fill in those seats.”

Trump called into question the legitimacy of fact-checking organizations, because he said they focused too much on his family and not Biden’s. He added Americans could not trust media sources, because they were biased.

“There is no mainstream media anymore,” Trump said. “There are no journalists. There are only activists.”

On the flipside, he said the First Amendment, which ensures the freedom of the press, was under attack this election, because Facebook limited users’ ability to share a New York Post article, which reported unconfirmed claims about Biden.

Highlighting America’s economic success under his father’s leadership, Trump said re-electing President Donald Trump could ensure the economy returns to its pre-coronavirus strength.

“(The Trump family) built buildings, we create jobs,” he said. “Unlike Hunter and Joe, we were business people.”

President Trump encouraged his sons to do more than pay for a building when they wanted it built, Trump said.

“We’re the only sons of billionaires in America that know how to drive a Caterpillar D10, because we actually did it,” he explained.

“It’s not just about the economy, though. We’re pulling our kids out of endless wars.”

Trump said the nation’s highest ranked military officials couldn’t explain why the U.S. was still at war in Afghanistan, so President Trump was seeking an end to American involvement in the Middle East.

“War Inc., pays really good, but the only way to get that fortune is by keeping us at wars,” Trump said. “No one in America wants to be there anymore. Donald Trump wants to build up our military so if we have to use it, we are ready.”

Rally response

As people crowded around Trump to snap selfies after his speech, a Hollidaysburg man, who identified himself as Tom Smith, chatted with his friends near the rally exit.

“This was my first time at a political rally, but I enjoyed it,” Smith said. “They hit all the major talking points. I don’t really care much what Hunter Biden did or didn’t do, but (Trump) stayed on point a pretty good amount of the time.”

While Smith said he wasn’t sure a rally would change anyone’s mind, he attended because he wanted to show support for the president.

Traveling from Duncansville, Sandra Lee said the rally was full of energy and had an air of exclusivity.

“It was smaller than I expected, but that was a good thing,” Lee said. “It felt like a private event.”

Outside the McLanahan campus, a handful of Biden supporters held up anti-Trump signs as a barrage of Trump supporters shouted insults in passing.

Altoona resident Steve Elfelt said he disagreed with the supporter’s political philosophy, but he was happy to see people taking an interest in the political process.

“When I see my neighbors out here, I see people who care,” Elfelt said, as a Trump supporter repeatedly screamed “baby killer” at Elfelt and the other Biden supporters.

Access for the community

Hosting Trump’s visit to Hollidaysburg was about more than supporting a single candidate, McLanahan CEO and President Sean McLanahan said.

“Our philosophy is to encourage our employees to vote,” McLanahan said. “We don’t tell them to vote one way or the other, but we do emphasize how important it is to be a part of the process.”

The corporation is no stranger to the Trump family, and before President Trump — the Republican presidential nominee at the time — spoke at the Blair County Convention Center in 2016, he toured the McLanahan manufacturing plant, McLanahan said.

“We’re happy to have (Trump) here,” he said. “It’s a way to provide the community with access to a figure close to the campaign that they might not see otherwise.”


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