With coal miners sitting behind him and holding “Trump Digs Coal” signs, Trump declared himself to be “the last shot” for coal against Clinton.
“The (coal) mines will be gone when (Clinton) gets elected,” Trump warned a standing-room-only crowd at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center.
Trump charged Clinton with backing President Obama’s anti-coal policies including the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to limit carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.
“The U.S. has lost nearly 200,000 mining jobs since 2014,” Trump noted. “ ... Hillary Clinton will be worse than Obama (on coal).”
Trump cited Clinton’s trip last March to West Virginia where at a town hall meeting she said: “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” She was later publicly confronted about it at a West Virginia roundtable discussion.
“She said that was a mistake,” Trump said of Clinton’s comment.
Before the Trump campaign event, a Democratic National Committee delegate told reporters coal’s problems have everything to do with cheap natural gas and nothing to do with Obama’s policies.
“There’s nothing the president can do to bring coal back. Hillary is not anti-coal,” said Terry Frye, commissioner of revenue for Bristol, Va. “She just recognizes the market forces have caused the situation in the coal industry.”
Clinton, said Frye, backs a $30 billion plan to transform the coal economy to create new green jobs.
Trump supporters Joshua and Tammy Hess from Honaker, Va., in addition to Lora Morgan from Bland County, confronted Frye and other Clinton supporters.
“Hillary is not the best choice for America. Donald Trump is,” Joshua Hess said.
Aside from coal, Trump took aim at the latest release of Clinton emails raising questions about the nature of the State Department’s relationship with the Clinton Foundation when Clinton was secretary of state.
“Lock her up! Lock her up!” the crowd began chanting.
Trump called the emails “pay for play” — that Clinton is enriching herself at public expense while the news media looks the other way.
“The media is so totally dishonest,” Trump said to wild applause.
Trump called Obama “grossly incompetent” to be president and challenged Clinton’s service as a U.S. senator, in addition to running mate Tim Kaine’s service as Virginia’s governor.
Virginia’s unemployment rate doubled and its tax load grew $4 billion under Kaine, said Trump. The Clinton-Kaine campaign tabbed those claims as inaccurate.
“I want to win Virginia. (Kaine) prides himself on barely winning (governor’s and U.S. Senate races),” Trump said of Kaine.
Trump pledged to repeal Obamacare and also branded the North American Free Trade Agreement and Trans Pacific Partnership as disasters for jobs.
“Bernie’s people agree with me on trade,” Trump said of former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ following.
Trump claimed he’s the candidate for gun rights and a a strong southern border. He suggested companies should face retribution for sending jobs to Mexico.
“I didn’t need this,” Trump said of his presidential campaign. “I could have enjoyed myself a lot.”