Markinghis first campaign speech since becoming the presumptive Republican nominee for president, DonaldTrump traveled to Charleston, W.Va., to offer support for the state's ailingcoal industry and received a warm welcome from the industry's leadership.
Surroundedby supporters holding signs reading, "Trump Digs Coal," thepresumptive Republican nominee echoed local criticism of federal regulations sooften cited for the industry downturn, telling the crowd that "theseridiculous rules and regulations that make it impossible for you to compete, sowe're going to take that all off the table folks."
"Allof [the coal is] getting safe and as it gets safe they're taking it away fromyou in a different way," Trump said. "You watch what happens — if Iwin, we're going to bring those miners back."
Comingdays after Democraticfrontrunner Hillary Clinton visited the state to address concerns surroundingcomments she made in Ohio earlier this year regarding the future of the coalindustry, Trump's speech quickly turned to her remarks and reception inproducing parts of Appalachia.
Donald Trump in Charleston, W.Va.
Source: David Martosko, DailyMail.com
"Shesaid 'I'm going to put the miners and the mines out of business.' And then shecomes over and she tried to explain her statement," Trump said. "Thatis a tough one to explain. Wouldn't you say?" he asked.
Earlierthis year, Clinton said the words:"I'm the only candidate which has a policy about how to bring economicopportunity using clean renewable energy as the key into coal country, becausewe're going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,right?" at an event in Ohio. Although Clinton went on to say "… andwe're going to make it clear that we don't want to forget those people" ina discussion about providing funding for those communities most impacted by theindustry downturn, coal advocates seized on the comment as proof that thecandidate would continue Obama administration policies that have proven to beso unpopular in producing parts of the country.
WhileClinton's later remarks and trips to West Virginia and Kentucky to appeal to the localindustry leadership, it did provide ample opportunity for further criticism ofthe Democratic candidate and her approach to energy and environmental policiesfrom coal advocates.
Drivingthis point home, West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney offeredhis formal endorsement of Trump on behalf of the group shortly before he wasscheduled to speak.
"DonaldTrump has been firm and clear throughout his campaign in his commitment to rebuildAmerica's basic industries — the industries that made this country great — suchas coal, steel and manufacturing" Raney said in a statement. "Trumphas said he will reverse the Democratic regulatory assault that has cost thecoal industry more than 40 percent of our production and jobs since 2008. Incontrast, Hillary Clinton's proposals essentially double-down on the jobkilling Obama policies. West Virginia can't afford that and neither can thenation."
Raneywent on to say that a Trump victory, along with a Republican governor, wouldprovide an opportunity to reverse the industry collapse.
"Webelieve that with the leadership team of Donald Trump in the White House andBill Cole as governor, West Virginia will begin to rebuild what we have lost tothe Obama War on Coal and also look to the future once again with confidence,"Raney said.
Coleand members of the WVCA representing Raney joined Trump during the speech topresent him with the endorsement and a miner's hard hat, which he donned to theapplause of the crowd.
WhileWest Virginia still has to hold its Republican primary on May 10, Trump advisedthe crowd "forget about this one" and to "save your vote for thegeneral election in November."