As Trump speaks to electrical contractors in Center City, protesters take to the streets

Demonstrators protest before a speech by President Donald Trump at the National Electrical Contractors Convention, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Demonstrators protest before a speech by President Donald Trump at the National Electrical Contractors Convention, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Updated: 4:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump is highlighting what he calls an “economic revival” while speaking in Center City Philadelphia at a convention of electrical contractors.

“The job you do is incredible,” he told the crowd with The National Association of Electrical Contractors, later adding, “You have a friend and an ally in the White House.”

The group criticized Trump’s tariff on solar panels last year, but more recently the group joined in a commitment to developing  job training and apprenticeship programs. The association’s political committee has contributed to Republican candidates, including U.S. Senate candidate Lou Barletta, an avid Trump supporter who was in the audience for the event at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Trump said Tuesday that the stock market has hit more than 100 record highs since he was sworn into office and that it will soon be announced that the country has created more than 640,000 manufacturing jobs since January.

“We’re in the midst of a manufacturing renaissance,” he said.

Trump was speaking to the National Electrical Contractors Association Convention a day after celebrating a new North American trade deal. Trump calls the agreement “USMCA,” for U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, saying he doesn’t want to use the previous name, NAFTA that deal cost American jobs.

“Like YMCA or U.S. Marine Corps with an A at the end,” he said.

Protesters prepare to greet Trump in Philadelphia, Tuesday October 2, 2018 (Unique Ratcliff for WHYY)

Outside the convention center, roughly 150 demonstrators marched, chanted, and sat in the roadway, protesting a range of issues from Trump’s immigration policies to his treatment of women.

WHYY reporters Dave Davies and Jarrett Lyons contributed reporting.

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