- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 13, 2019

President Trump told Pennsylvania energy workers on Tuesday he needs a second term to help the U.S. reclaim its “noble heritage” as a nation of builders with a robust manufacturing sector.

Cheered by rowdy workers in neon vests, Mr. Trump said the Shell Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex is a critical part of his push to bolster domestic energy and tame countries that have “taken advantage” of American workers.

“This would have never happened without me, and us,” said Mr. Trump, though Shell announced its plans in 2016, when Barack Obama was president.

Mr. Trump said if Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton had won the election, the plant wouldn’t have opened.

Mr. Trump toured the facility’s natural gas furnaces and ethylene cracker plant, which serves a pivotal role in making plastic.

The plant served as an ideal backdrop for Mr. Trump’s push to increase domestic energy production by approving new plants and pipelines and sweeping away regulatory hurdles.

“I ended the war on American energy,” Mr. Trump said.

The president strayed from the central theme, however, giving his official visit the feel of one of his campaign rallies. He boasted about his 2016 victory, remarked on viewership of the Academy Awards and complained about the Federal Reserve and congressional Democrats.

He renewed his threat to withdraw from the World Trade Organization, saying it’s been “screwing” the U.S. for years, and slammed Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, claiming she and the rest of the 2020 Democratic presidential field do not care about western Pennsylvania.

Mr. Trump said the only thing holding him back is negative press coverage, saying if he got “fair” treatment he would be automatically reelected.

He also said the crowd could rile up reporters by tweeting about Mr. Trump overstaying his time in the White House.

“You want to really drive them crazy, go to #ThirdTerm or #FourthTerm,” he said.

Pennsylvania, in particular, is viewed as a key piece of Mr. Trump’s 2020 effort. He claimed the state three years ago, though former Vice President Joseph R. Biden — the Democratic front-runner and a Scranton native — leads Mr. Trump in the state by comfortable margins, according to recent polls.

Mr. Trump ticked off his efforts to boost domestic steel through tariffs and touted Japan’s investments in the American auto industry.

He said his efforts will be for naught unless workers press their union leaders to support his reelection.

If leaders don’t back him, Mr. Trump said, workers should “vote ‘em the hell out of office, because they’re not doing their job.”

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