Vice President Mike Pence rallies base in Ohio

Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 12:17 AM EDT
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ZANESVILLE, Ohio (WTAP) - Vice President Mike Pence made a campaign stop in Zanesville, Ohio Wednesday evening. He spoke to a crowd of a few hundred people at a “Workers For Trump” rally.

Crediting his boss, the VP said in his speech that the economy is doing well. Pence says nearly 400,000 Ohioans have recently returned to work after being laid off amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He also says President Donald Trump has brought many previously lost manufacturing jobs back to Ohio.

“I know you all know the story, but President Trump was willing to roll his sleeves and fight for Ohio jobs in Lordstown," said Pence.

The crowd cheered.

Little to no opposition showed up to the rally, however WTAP reached out to the Biden Campaign, who offered Chillicothe Mayor and Democrat Luke Feeney as a representative of their campaign, to rebuttal. Feeney says Biden is also committed to bringing jobs to Ohio.

“[Those] type of good quality jobs that people can plan lives around. Buy homes, have health insurance, stability,” said Feeney.

On top of jobs, Vice President Pence discussed the growing conversation around police brutality and reallocating money within or away from police departments. Pence made it clear that the Trump administration is against “defunding the police.”

“We will always stand with the men and women who stand on the thin blue line. We are not going to defund the police, not now, not ever,” said Pence.

“May the people of Ohio know we don’t have to choose between supporting law enforcement and supporting our African American neighbors or any of the minorities or families that live in our major cities.”

Biden supporters say the former Vice President has a record of supporting law enforcement. Not only that, but Mayor Feenley says he looks for Biden to help law enforcement with more funding.

“Police officers are having to do more and more with mental health and with substance abuse responsiveness. So, instead defunding an organization, how about some extra funding to provide social workers and support to police officers. I think that’s something we have not seen from President Trump, but I think it is something we could see from President Biden,” said Feeney.

Pence also praised President Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic during his speech, saying Trump’s travel ban on China saved many lives.

“He put the health of America first,” said Pence.

It is not a sentiment shared by Biden supporters.

“Nothing short of an abject failure. The concept that he has wanted to play it down as opposed to respond swiftly and accordingly and lead the country,” said Feeney. “I think we all know we would be in a better situation if he had supported masks earlier.”

Pence was cheered on by his audience through almost every part of his speech, until he thanked Ohio Governor Mike DeWine for his leadership through the coronavirus pandemic. Near the back of the crowd, boos could heard clashing with cheers near the front.

Feeney says DeWine has contradicted Trump, and it has damaged the Republican governor’s image with Trump’s base.

“I’m not sure this is a Democrat or Republican thing or just an allegiance to a certain person regardless of what the policies or lack there of are,” said Feeney.

“Because of Trump’s rhetoric on things like masks and false information that he’s spread, he’s done harm to the good work that Governor DeWine has attempted to do.”

Only a handful of people at the rally in Zanesville were wearing masks.

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