LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday that nothing shows President Donald Trump’s commitment to Ohio more than his determination to have a new occupant at the former General Motors plant.
Speaking at the plant in a one-on-one interview with WKBN as the plant’s new occupant, Lordstown Motors, unveiled a new vehicle, Pence said by reelecting Trump, Ohioans can continue to have someone at bat for them in Washington.
“The record of this administration proves again and again that the people of Ohio have a fighter in President Donald Trump,” Pence said.
Pence also touched on how the administration can help Lordstown and the area attract new jobs to make up for the ones lost when the GM plant closed last spring. He also talked about how they believe Youngstown police are a role model for both policing and community relations in the nation.
In a statement, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper mocked the vice president and the administration for their visit, saying they had little to do with attracting Lordstown Motors to the plant.
“Mike Pence is showing up for a photo op in Ohio at a moment that they are now trailing in Ohio to claim credit for a project they had little to do with,” Pepper said in the statement.
A poll this week released this by Quinnipiac University shows Trump and his opponent, Democrat Joe Biden, tied in Ohio.
Pence seemed to grasp the importance of Ohio to the president’s team, as he peppered his answers repeatedly with references to Ohio. In 2016, Trump bested Hillary Clinton by about eight points in the state.
Following his appearance in Lordstown, Pence went to the Youngstown Police Department, where he spoke to the early roll call for the afternoon turn.
Pence said Lordstown Motors is just one example of the economic successes of the Trump Administration, which was on a roll before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country, spawning job losses because of shutdown orders across the country. He touted job growth after a report last month showed that 2 million people were newly employed after reports of job losses in the months prior.
“We’re already beginning to see the great American comeback,” Pence said.
That will happen because of the president’s emphasis on American companies and products, Pence said.
“From his first day, President Trump has put American interests first,” Pence said.
A new product in the Lordstown plant, Pence said, “is a testament to the people of the community and the people of Ohio,” Pence said.
Pence said he wanted to visit Youngstown police because of the work they have done in training officers and community relations. Earlier this year, city police agreed to submit data to an FBI database whenever an officer uses force so those statistics can be tracked better.
Pence also lauded the department for their community outreach, as the department makes it a point to reach out to neighborhoods and recently opened their yearly use of force training up to members of the community.
He said Youngstown is setting the pace for reforms – reforms the federal government hopes to see happen across the country.
“We’re going to do what Youngstown is doing,” Pence said. “We’re going to do both [training and outreach].”
For cities like Youngstown that have high rates of both poverty and gun violence, Pence said the administration wants to strengthen education and job opportunities for people, including minorities, so they can make a better living and turn away from crime. He said that under President Trump, unemployment for African-Americans is the lowest it has ever been.
For policing reform, which has been a hot topic across the country because of protests spawned from the recent killing of George Floyd, Pence said the administration backed a bill from Sen. Tim Scott, R-South Carolina, that addressed several reforms but was killed because of Democratic pressure in the Senate.
Pence said the administration fully supports law enforcement and that law enforcement officers want reform as much as anyone.
“Nobody hates bad cops more than good cops,” Pence said.