A focused, almost low-key Donald Trump spoke to about 600 Republican loyalists at the Doubletree Hotel in King of Prussia Tuesday, addressing health care policy.
The Republican presidential candidate brought vice presidential running mate Mike Pence, former primary opponent Dr. Ben Carson and several GOP congressional representatives along to add substance to the pitch.
“If we don’t repeal and replace Obamacare, we will destroy American health care forever,” Trump said, after reciting statistics about rising premiums and shrinking choices in Affordable Care Act marketplaces.
He promised to call a special session of Congress, if he’s elected, to replace Obamacare with a market-based health care system emphasizing private health saving accounts and interstate competition among insurance companies and health care providers.
“It will be much better health care at a much less expensive cost,” Trump said.
Pence spoke longer than Trump on health policy, drawing big cheers when he said, “It’s time to end this government takeover of health care and turn to American solutions!”
Trump on message
Trump never mentioned Hillary Clinton’s emails. He never called her “crooked Hillary,” or said she should go to jail.
And, having seen Trump a few times during this campaign, I have to say he didn’t seem to be having as much fun as he normally does.
There was no Rolling Stones music to rev up the crowd, and lots of meaty policy talk.
His campaign advisers have at times struggled to get Trump to stay with the message on his teleprompter and not improvise provocative lines that overshadow his message in media coverage.
This was a message-heavy event to a crowd of hundreds, not thousands. Trump seemed almost subdued, delivering his lines with a kind of quiet determination, responding to cheers and spontaneous chants of “Trump, Trump!” with a quiet “thank you.”
With just a week to go before the election, every decision about the use of a candidate’s time is critical, so it’s interesting that the entire ticket came to King of Prussia for the event.
National pundits say that, to win in the Electoral College, Trump must win all the states where he’s strong and pick off a Democratic-leaning state.
Pennsylvania is one of those targets, and the Philadelphia suburbs are a key battleground. There’s also the fact that a third of the state’s registered voters live in Philadelphia and its four suburban counties, so a day of coverage in this media market is worth some effort.
Pence said more Democratic and independent voters are “joining this movement,” and he urged Republicans “to come home” and support the ticket.
The region’s Republican congressional representatives and the state’s Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey were noticeably absent from the Tuesday event.