Donald Trump hits Newtown Athletic Club fundraiser before Lehigh County

Former President Donald Trump will be in Bucks County on Saturday for a fundraiser before heading to the Lehigh Valley for a rally.

Both areas are critical battlegrounds in Pennsylvania as Trump campaigns against President Joe Biden this year.

Trump’s third visit to Pennsylvania this year comes just 10 days before the state’s primary. While the former president is the presumed Republican nominee, the April 23 primary could take the temperature of his support within the party.

Biden and Trump have polled extremely closely in state polls, underscoring the importance of winning over voters in the swing state. The most recent Franklin & Marshall poll had Biden leading by two points, which was within the poll’s margin of error.

Trump will be in the commonwealth just two days before jury selection begins in Manhattan for his first of four criminal prosecutions. His former CFO, Allen Weisselberg, was this week sentenced to five months in a perjury trial as Trump’s lawyers aim to delay his pending trials.

Why is Donald Trump coming to Bucks County?

In the afternoon, Trump is expected to attend a fundraiser at Newtown Athletic Club hosted by several longtime GOP donors, including Jim Worthington, the club’s owner who defied COVID closures in 2020.

Trump supporters who want to welcome the former president but aren’t attending the event — for which ticket prices started at $2,500 a person — plan to gather outside. A flyer advertising the effort warns attendees to be on their best behavior.

Bucks County is one of the most important political battlegrounds in the country. It’s one of just a handful of bellwether areas in Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia’s only purple collar county.

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, a self-described moderate Republican who represents the area and has a history of dodging questions about Trump, did not respond to inquiries about whether he’ll attend the fundraiser. Fitzpatrick has not yet said whether he will endorse Trump this year.

Indivisible Bucks County, a local chapter of a national progressive group, will rally in support of Biden in a caravan that will loop past the athletic club and Fitzpatrick’s office.

» READ MORE: Trump is headed to Bucks County this weekend, but don’t expect Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick to be there

Why is Donald Trump coming to Lehigh County?

After the fundraiser, Trump will head to Lehigh County to a rally that will take place at the Schnecksville Fire Hall in North Whitehall Township. While doors will open for supporters at 3 p.m., Trump is expected to deliver remarks four hours later, at 7 p.m.

» READ MORE: Three reasons Trump picked the Lehigh Valley for his big rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday

Bill Bachenberg, a millionaire Trump donor who lives outside of Allentown and tried to help overturn the 2020 election, appears to have helped organize the event. According to the Lehigh Valley News, Bachenberg’s popular clay target shooting center rented the fire hall out for Trump’s rally.

The county’s GOP chair told the Lehigh Valley News that organizers are expecting more than 6,000 people at the outdoor rally off Route 309.

The Lehigh Valley is a swing region. It’s also home to a large population of Latino voters, a group that both Trump and Biden are trying to appeal to.

Abortion taking center stage

Trump’s visit to Pennsylvania comes as he is in the spotlight for his latest statements about abortion.

After prior mixed messaging on the issue, Trump said this week that he doesn’t support a national ban and that it should be left to the states.

He also said Arizona’s law that criminalizes almost all abortions goes too far but defended the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Trump has expressed a myriad of views on abortion in the past, from saying women seeking abortions should be punished in 2016 — a statement he later backtracked on — to suggesting last month that he would support a national abortion ban around 15 weeks pregnancy.

Democrats have used Trump’s statements on abortion to attack him on an issue that the party has found success with in recent elections.

“From overturning Roe v. Wade and unleashing extreme abortion bans all across the country, to trying to overturn the last election and destroy our democracy, to promising to kick 1.2 million Pennsylvanians off of their health care, Donald Trump’s record and agenda are too dangerous and extreme for Pennsylvania,” Gov. Josh Shapiro said in a statement Friday about Trump’s visit to the state.

Biden will visit the Commonwealth next week with stops in Scranton, the Pittsburgh area, and the Philadelphia region.


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