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Trump Talks Immigration, National Security At Campaign Stop In Youngstown

President Donald Trump is set to rally in Southwest Ohio this week.
Andy Chow
Ohio Public Radio

Donald Trump’s trip to Youngstown Monday differed in style from most of his other presidential stump speeches along the Ohio/Pennsylvania border. What did not change was his call to slow immigration, the passion of his supporters – and the dearth of Ohio’s political leaders on stage with him.

Trump billed the speech as a major foreign policy address. And it was clear from the get-go that there would be no riffing by the candidate on building a wall with Mexico – though that’s often his biggest applause line.

This speech focused instead on fighting Radical Islamic Terrorism, a phrase he used about a dozen times during the speech -- while accusing President Obama of fearing to use the words at all and failing to recognize signs of terror attacks before they happen.

"These warnings signs were ignored because political correctness has replaced common sense in our society."

'Extreme vetting'
Trump pledged to establish a Commission on Radical Islam to expose terrorists and their supporters and establish new protocols for police and immigration screeners. And he promised to develop an ideology test, reminiscent of those the U.S. instituted for immigrants during the Cold War.

“The time is overdue to develop a new screening test for the threats we face today. I call it extreme vetting. I call it extreme, extreme vetting. Our country has enough problems, we don’t need more, and these are problems like we’ve never had before."

The vetting would include a search for "hostile attitudes" and “those who do not believe in our constitution or who support bigotry or hatred will not be admitted for immigration into our country.”

Attacks on Clinton
Trump did not use the words that got him into hot water last week – that Obama and Hillary Clinton co-founded ISIS – but he got some of his strongest applause when he held their policies and the execution of those policies to blame. He called Clinton stupid and weak, saying she lacks the mental and physical stamina to take on ISIS.

Trump made no reference to a New York Times article this weekend detailing the relationships between his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarchs.

But he said he’d consider a relationship with Russia, as well as NATO, to defeat terror.

“I also believe that we could find common ground with Russia in the fight against ISIS. Wouldn’t that be a good thing? Wouldn’t that be a good thing?

Outrageous connections
Earlier in the day, state Rep. and Air Force reservist John Boccieri raised questions about Trump’s relationship with Russia.

“The Russian government still has nukes pointed at us, I guess. And to have somebody who would be running for president, to have this kind of influence and connections with Russian insiders that are causing havoc in the Ukraine, is just completely outrageous to me.”

But many of the hundreds of people crowded into the auditorium at Youngstown State University to hear Trump were far less concerned. That includes Michael Wilson of Portage County.

“You know, we have never fought with Russia. Russia has always been an ally to the United States. There are times that come and go, rise and fall, but we have never fought Russia. We have always worked with Russia and we will continue to work with Russia, especially under Donald Trump.” 

The crowd at YSU was by invitation. Though some wore “Hillary for Prison” T-shirts – and others shouted “lock her up” as Trump lambasted Clinton -- there was no sign of more off-color versions that have shown up at other Trump events.

And throughout his 50-minute speech, Trump kept his eyes trained almost exclusively on the teleprompter.

That left it up to his warm-up act – former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani -- to be extemporaneous, and Guiliani stumbled a bit as he was introducing Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence…

“And you know, better than I do, what a great governor he is of your state, what he’s done for your state, how he’s improved it and helped it and left it in tremendous condition…”

At that point, Guiliani realized he was in Ohio, not in Indiana.

Ohio’s governor, John Kasich, has refused to endorse Trump, and was nowhere in sight.

But for this crowd, Kasich’s continued snubbing of Trump is Kasich’s problem, not Trump’s. Mary Theis, a lifelong Republican, says she’s gotten a glimpse of just how strong support for Trump is as she’s worked political booths at fairs and festivals.

“I couldn’t believe the younger people that feel very strongly for Trump. People coming up to us, young men, just saying, ‘we want signs.’ I think his message is generating throughout all generations.”

Polls that show anything else, she says are either wrong or skewed by liberal media.

M.L. Schultze came to WKSU as news director in July 2007 after 25 years at The Repository in Canton, where she was managing editor for nearly a decade. She’s now the digital editor and an award-winning reporter and analyst who has appeared on NPR, Here and Now and the TakeAway, as well as being a regular panelist on Ideas, the WVIZ public television's reporter roundtable.