Trump to make first visit of 2020 to Pennsylvania

President Donald Trump gestures as he walks offstage after speaking at a campaign rally, Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (Patrick Semansky/AP Photo)

President Donald Trump gestures as he walks offstage after speaking at a campaign rally, Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (Patrick Semansky/AP Photo)

President Donald Trump is making his first visit this year to the presidential battleground state of Pennsylvania, in a town hall-style event hosted by Fox News in Scranton on Thursday.

The one-hour event will be at the Scranton Cultural Center.

The location is important for this year’s presidential election: Trump’s unexpected win in Pennsylvania in 2016 helped pave his way to the White House. He did particularly well in northeastern Pennsylvania, where the cities of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre have long anchored a strong Democratic presence in the area.

The Republican president made five visits to Pennsylvania last year, including two to western Pennsylvania where he talked up the region’s booming natural gas industry.

Pennsylvania is again expected to be a premier battleground state in November’s general election as Democrats vie to bring it back into the win column. No Democrat since Harry S. Truman in 1948 has become president without winning the state.

Trump won Pennsylvania in 2016 by about 44,000 votes, or less than 1 percentage point.

In backing Trump, Pennsylvania went Republican in a presidential contest for the first time since 1988 as part of the Democratic Party’s “blue wall” of industrial states that Trump flipped, along with Michigan and Wisconsin.

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