5 Takeaways From Donald Trump’s Wilkes-Barre Rally

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

By Patrick Berkery

September 4, 2022

The former president was in NEPA Saturday to rally for Dr. Oz, Doug Mastriano, and Jim Bognet. In the end, it was all about Trump.

It Was the Trump Show

Did you really expect that Trump wouldn’t make it about himself speaking before an arena filled with MAGA-heads?

He briefly mentioned Mastriano and Oz at the beginning of his nearly 90-minute speech before turning his focus to the FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago estate and Biden’s speech in Philadelphia Thursday in which he called the MAGA wing of the Republican party a threat to the foundation of democracy.

Trump called the FBI search “one of the most shocking abuses of power by any administration in American history” and “a travesty of justice.”

“They’re trying to silence me and more importantly they’re trying to silence you. But we will not be silenced, right?” Trump said.

He didn’t mention that investigators recovered thousands of documents in the completely legal search of his home, including more than 100 with classified and top secret markings.

Trump called Biden’s Philadelphia speech “the most vicious, hateful, and divisive speech ever delivered by an American President.”

He further attacked Biden — saying at one point “above all this election is a referendum on the corruption and extremism” of Biden and Democrats.

Mastriano Draws Stronger Response Than Oz

Trump spoke glowingly of Mastriano, telling the crowd that the extreme far-right candidate fought with him from the beginning to try to help Trump overturn the 2020 election and stay in power. “He fought like very few people fought,” Trump said.

Trump was much more generic in his praise of Oz, saying the celebrity doctor “is going to work and fight for Pennsylvania.”

The crowd seemed much more hyped up over Mastriano, chanting “Doug for Gov!” as he came onstage. 

By comparison, Oz received polite applause. At least he wasn’t booed this time.

Mastriano Stays on Message

Mastriano came under fire last week after photos and video surfaced of him wearing a confederate uniform for a faculty photo and thanking supporters in Confederate paraphernalia. 

After being linked to anti-Semites and conspiracy theorists, Mastriano is no stranger to such fire. It didn’t dull his rhetoric one bit in Wilkes-Barre, as he attacked transgender women playing women’s sports, critical race theory, and “illegals.”

He also attempted to use Biden’s Philadelphia speech to fire up his base.

“We the people are pissed. I know I am,” he said, “especially after that ridiculous speech the other day.”

Trump Doesn’t Like Hoodies and Shorts

Trump derided Democratic US Senate candidate John Fetterman’s everyman style of dress — shorts and hoodies — saying that “I don’t like those dirty sweat suits, they’re disgusting.”

“Fetterman may dress like a teenager getting high in his parents’ basement, but he’s a raging lunatic hell-bent on springing hardened criminals out of jail in the middle of the worst crime wave in Pennsylvania history,” Trump said.

Credit Trump for showing some restraint and not mocking Fetterman’s stroke, like Oz’s campaign.

What About Bognet?

Trump made no mention of congressional candidate Bognet, who is running against Democratic incumbent Matt Catwright in Pennsylvania’s 8th District. Bogent spoke early in the evening, parroting the MAGA party line about how hateful and demeaning President Biden’s Philadelphia speech was.

“Biden insulted us, Biden demeaned us, Biden belittled us,” Bognet said. “A shameful and disgusting display by an American president.”

Bognet sure seemed psyched to be there.

Bognet was a political appointee in the Trump’s administration. Trump has praised him as “pro-wall, pro-life, and pro-gun.” 

Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.


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