Despite Saturday’s 90-degree weather, thousands of Ohioans converged on Olentangy Orange High School in Lewis Center to witness a sitting president of the United States of America speak in Delaware County.
With thousands packed into the gymnasium and crowds of others spread throughout overflow areas across the high school campus, President Donald Trump spoke Saturday for over an hour, even pausing 50 minutes into his speech to comment on the sweltering temperatures inside the building.
“Even though it’s 110 degrees in this crazy room, if you can take it, I can take it,” he told those in attendance, many of whom were using various Trump signs to fan themselves.
The planned visit, which was originally scheduled to be held at the Delaware County Fairgrounds but was moved to OOHS in order to accommodate a larger crowd, centered around the highly contested race between state Sen. Troy Balderson, R-Zanesville, and Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor, D-Columbus. Both men are seeking voter support to fill the remaining term of Rep. Pat Tiberi’s, R-Genoa, seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he represented Ohio’s 12th District. Tiberi resigned from the seat in January to accept a position as the new head of the Ohio Business Roundtable.
“We are going to have a tremendous victory for Troy Balderson,” Trump told the crowd. “He’s really tough. He’s really smart. He never stops working, that’s what (Bob) Paduchik (Republican National Committee co-chairman and Genoa Township resident) told me.”
Trump went on to tell the crowd it was his “true honor” to introduce Balderson and added, “He’s never going to let you down … He is the guy that is going to do things. You are going to be very surprised.”
Trump predicted if Balderson is elected to Congress during the special election on Aug. 7, he would be representing the 12th District for quite some time to come.
“We have a man that’s going to fight for you, who is going to fight for Ohio, and he is going to be here for a long time,” Trump said.
After receiving Trump’s endorsement for Congress, Balderson called the occasion a “truly a humbling experience to be on stage with President Trump,” and he told his supporters, “I need your volunteer hours, your enthusiasm, and most importantly, I need your vote Aug. 7.”
With Trump by his side, Balderson took the opportunity to tell his supporters that if elected to Congress, he would work right alongside the president to “Make America Great Again.”
“President Donald Trump has lowered taxes, brought unemployment to an all-time low, and the stock market is roaring,” Balderson said. “I’m going to fight alongside him to continue this economic success. I promise.”
In addition to noting on several occasions during the speech the current state of the U.S. economy, both Balderson and Trump touched on other hot-button topics like issues affecting America’s workforce and seniors, as well as immigration.
Balderson addressed the senior citizens in attendance and across America by stating, “President Trump will protect your Social Security and Medicare.”
Trump touched on the country’s immigration policy by acknowledging the border wall is being built and calling out O’Connor’s stance on the issue.
“A vote for Troy’s opponent is a vote for open borders,” Trump told the crowd.
As for the president’s stop in Delaware County, Trump spoke several times of his admiration for the people of the “Buckeye State” who helped him win the 2016 election.
“I love Ohio,” Trump said. “I’m thrilled to be back. This is an incredible place.”
Contact Joshua Keeran at 740-413-0900. Follow The Delaware Gazette on Twitter @delgazette. Like The Gazette on Facebook.