Donald Trump is on the campaign trail Saturday with a stop in eastern Pennsylvania, a swing state critical in his path toward trying to win the White House and another opportunity for the Republican presidential nominee to steady his campaign after a solid debate performance was undone by final-minute accusations about demeaning women.
Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s accusations during the debate Monday that Trump demeaned a former Miss Universe winner from Venezuela had Trump, for much of the remainder of the week, publically discrediting the woman, including a pre-dawn Twitter rant Friday in which he dismissed her as a “con” and suggested she had appeared in a sex tape.
“For those few people knocking me for tweeting at three o’clock in the morning, at least you know I will be there, awake, to answer the call!” Trump tweeted later that morning.
One of Trump’s biggest supporters, former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich, said on Fox New Channel’s the “Hannity” show: “You can’t tweet at 3 o’clock in the morning. Period. There’s no excuse. Ever. Not if you’re going to be president of the United States.”
Clinton also criticized Trump’s behavior, telling a campaign crowd Friday in Coral Springs, Fla.: “Who gets up at 3 in the morning to engage in a Twitter attack against the former Miss Universe?”
On the campaign trail Friday night in Michigan, a state Clinton lost in the primary, Trump appeared back to business, telling the crowd, “I am going to fight so hard for all of you. And I am going to bring back the jobs that have been stripped away from you and your country.”
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Trump on Saturday will be in Manheim, Pa., Amish country where roughly 91 percent of the population is white.
Clinton has pulled slightly ahead in polls after the debate, after Trump in recent weeks brought the race to essentially a dead heat. A Fox News poll released Friday has Clinton leading by 5 percentage points among likely voters, 49-to-44 percent.
Winning Pennsylvania will be difficult for Trump, considering the state has voted for the Democratic nominee in the past six presidential elections, despite its reputation as a battleground or swing state.
Clinton will almost assuredly do well in the Democratic-leaning cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. However, Trump could perform well in the surrounding Pittsburg counties of western Pennsylvania, known as coal and steel country, in which Trump’s promise to bring back manufacturing jobs appears to resonate with voters.
Some political analysts think the Clinton-Trump race in Pennsylvania could be decided by who wins suburban Philadelphia, include the wealthy western part known as the Main Line.
However, Trump will likely need more support from women in those and other communities. The recent Fox News poll shows he trails Clinton among such likely voters 33-to-53 percent.
Trump’s oldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, is trying to help her father among female voters.
“The most important job any woman can have is being a mother, and it shouldn’t mean taking a pay cut,” the entrepreneur and mother-of-three says in a 30-second TV ad released Friday. “Donald Trump understands the needs of a modern workforce.”