TOLEDO, Ohio — Donald Trump barnstormed Thursday though Ohio, one of his more friendly swing states, by splicing his usual corruption-themed attacks on Hillary Clinton with an extended return to bashing the trade deals he blames for the region’s large-scale job losses.
Addressing several thousand supporters at Toledo’s downtown civic center, Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, proclaimed during his second of three Ohio rallies Thursday: “We’re living through the greatest jobs theft in the history of the world.”
He listed a half-dozen local companies that have shed hundreds of manufacturing positions in recent years.
Trump blamed Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, and former President Bill Clinton for supporting the North American Free Trade Agreement and other policies he said encouraged companies to move jobs overseas. “Every time you see a closed-out factory or wiped-out community here in Ohio, the Clintons were really involved,” Trump said.
Trump’s day in Ohio, where his standing in the polls has consistently outperformed his rating in other swing states and is considered a must-win for his campaign, followed similar multiple-stop days in Florida on Tuesday and North Carolina on Wednesday.
In Ohio, Trump held an early rally in Springfield, a Columbus suburb, before arriving in Toledo in the state’s northwest corner. He later addressed a crowd in Geneva, northeast of Cleveland.
In Springfield, Trump criticized Hillary Clinton about newly disclosed private emails from her top campaign aide, posted by the WikiLeaks group and showing a top aide to Bill Clinton describing connections between the Clinton Foundation and the family’s personal financial interests.
“If the Clintons were willing to play this fast and loose with their enterprise when they weren’t in the White House, just imagine what they’ll do in the Oval Office.” Trump said in Springfield.
In Toledo, he skipped over specific mentions of the case, telling the crowd: “More information came out today . . . that’s more devastating than anything you’ve seen so far.”
Trump also continued to seize on news of sharp increases in Obamacare premiums next year, noting that providers in some states are pulling out, leaving consumers with fewer choices.
“It’s a catastrophic situation beyond imagination,” Trump said. “Repealing Obamacare is one of the most single-important reasons we must win on Nov. 8.”
It was a topic on the minds of his supporters as well.
Lori Ward, 42, a Toledo resident, attended the rally — her first — with her two of her daughters and a 5-month-old grandson. Asked which issue most drew her to Trump, she immediately answered, “I am all for repealing Obamacare.”
The former catering company worker, who helped put on events at the civic center, said she used the Affordable Care Act after she was forced to retire with a disability.
While she receives a subsidy, she said the recent news of premium hikes provided an unpleasant jolt.
“Getting my letter in the mail last week, I went through the roof,” Ward said.
Trump — who during that rally elicited the now-common chants of “build a wall” and “lock her up” — seemed to most enjoy engaging the crowd, which loudly corrected him when he began a statement with “if we win” instead of “when we win.”
And in returning to Hillary Clinton’s past support of free trade agreements, Trump drew laughter when he said his positions on the issue were so much better that there shouldn’t even be a vote on Nov. 8.
“We should just cancel the election and just give it to Trump, right?” he said.