Friday, December 9, 2016
Trump loves Louisiana; promises oil and gas jobs
Greg Hilburn , USA TODAY Network Louisiana politics , Local
BATON ROUGE — President-elect Donald Trump promised an energy industry renaissance to an enthusiastic Louisiana crowd here Friday as part of a Republican campaign rally preceding Saturday's election.
Trump asked voters to support Republican John Kennedy in Saturday's U.S. Senate race and Republican Mike Johnson in the 4th Congressional District, saying they will be his partners in Washington.
"You're in the energy business; you more than any other state," he said. "We're going to see refineries and pipelines and lots of things. We will cancel job-killing regulations (on the energy industry)."
Trump supporters by the thousands packed the Dow Chemical hangar, even spilling outside, for a chance to see the president-elect, waving signs like "Red Votes Mattered," "I'm ready to work on the wall" and "If you build it they WON'T come."
Red "Make America Great Again" caps were everywhere, hawked along with campaign buttons and T-shirts by vendors outside the venue as if it were a rock concert.
The president-elect went back to the issues that resonated with crowds throughout his campaign, with the biggest applause eruptions coming when he talked about building a wall to thwart illegal immigration from Mexico and tearing up trade deals he believes are job-killers.
"We will build a great wall and stop illegal immigration," Trump said, generating chants of "Build that wall; build that wall."
As for trade, he said, "I like free trade but now we have foolish trade. That's why I'm renegotiating our trade (deals)."
"We're going to defend every American job," Trump said.
The president-elect pledged to bring back manufacturing jobs, "cut business taxes from 35 to 15 percent," repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, appoint a conservative to the Supreme Court and "build the strongest military we've ever had."
Kennedy's opponent, Democrat Foster Campbell, asked for equal time on a day when Trump dominated the headlines in Louisiana.
Campbell held a press conference in downtown Baton Rouge before the Trump rally and headed to Alexandria and Lake Charles to continue his campaign.
"I hope President-elect Trump realizes who John Kennedy really is," Campbell said. "He was a liberal Democrat before begging (Trump) to come down here as a new conservative. He's a flip-flopper who didn't want to debate and who's beholden to corporate America."
The president-elect also met with Gov. John Bel Edwards before the rally on the tarmac. Edwards, a Democrat, didn't attend the GOP rally, but lobbied Trump for federal flood aid.
”I appreciate President-elect Trump taking the time to briefly visit with me during his trip to Louisiana today," Edwards said in a statement. "During our visit, I had the opportunity to again congratulate him on his victory and update him on our disaster recovery efforts since his visit in August.
"We had a brief, but positive conversation about our state's needs in order to complete the rebuilding process and he expressed his love for our great state. President-elect Trump and his administration will play a vital role in securing additional assistance for recovery from the March and August floods. I reiterated my enthusiasm to partner with him, and the President-elect and I agreed to meet again after the inauguration to discuss issues important to Louisiana in more detail.”
Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1