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Trump In Connecticut: A Look Back At The Week

Evan Vucci
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives to speak during a campaign rally at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., in August.

This has been quite an eventful week for the Donald Trump presidential campaign. A few days ago the campaign’s top management was beefed up with additional personnel. Last weekend the GOP presidential candidate made a campaign stop in Fairfield, Connecticut. The stop baffled conventional wisdom because Connecticut is not considered a battleground state.

WSHU’s Senior Political Reporter Ebong Udoma was at Trump’s rally at Sacred Heart University last Saturday, and he recently spoke with All Things Considered Host Bill Buchner about the rally and the campaign. Below is a transcript of their conversation.

Ebong, any idea why Trump made a campaign stop in Connecticut considering a Republican has not carried the state in a presidential election since 1988?

We are still trying to figure that out. However, I’d like to start by making a correction to some of the earlier reporting we had that said Ronald Reagan had been the last Republican to campaign in Connecticut. Actually George H. W. Bush stumped twice. First during his winning campaign in 1988 and then in 1992 when he lost to Bill Clinton.

I’m sure Trump stumped in Connecticut hoping he’d win. Here’s what he had to say.

“I love Connecticut, I’ve lived in Connecticut, I have so many friends in Connecticut…any governor that would lose General Electric hasn’t done his job let me tell you.”

Wow, it seems Trump is going after Connecticut’s Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy pretty hard? Do you think that’s because Malloy’s approval rating with Connecticut voters is so low?

Yes. That’s something Trump seemed to hone in on. At times his attacks seemed quite personal. Here’s some more of what he had to say.

“You’ve got to vote for Trump just as a signal to your incompetent governor that you are not going to take it anymore…it’s Dannel Malloy.”

You know, Bill, Trump also accused Malloy, who’s chair of the National Democratic Governors Association and a surrogate of Hillary Clinton, of looking for a job in Washington as a way of getting out of his troubles in Connecticut.

“He’s in Washington looking for a job, but I would never hire him, so why is he wasting his time?”

Hm, so what’s been Malloy’s response to Trump?

Well, here’s what Malloy had to say:

“Donald Trump is an out and out fraud…he’s a fraud, that what he is. He is also a clown. That’s what he is.”

Okay. What about Trump’s accusation that Malloy has mishandled the State’s economy and failed to prevent GE from moving its headquarters from Fairfield to Boston?

Malloy says Massachusetts gave GE $162 million in incentives to get the company to move its headquarters to Boston. He says he wasn’t prepared to do that.

“If I’d spent $162 to get 200 jobs, the howling would not have stopped….there are more GE employees in Connecticut than there were this time last year.”

Interesting. Did Trump spend any time going after Hillary Clinton?

He did. Apart from calling her ‘Crooked Hillary,’ Trump did mention Clinton’s promise when she was U.S. senator to create 200,000 jobs in upstate New York. But Trump quickly skipped over it to talk about himself.

“As Senator Clinton promised 200,000 jobs. Now here’s the New York Post very recently…‘as Donald Trump saved New York City’…that’s what we are going to do for the country folks.”

So back to Connecticut, considering that Trump is behind in the polls in most of the so-called battleground states, does he really stand a chance to win Connecticut?

That’s a question I put to former Connecticut GOP Chair Chris Healy, when I met him at the rally.

“We are very excited about his chances here in Connecticut…to get Connecticut working again.”

You know, Bill, there are no independent polls that bear that out, but I guess Republicans feel that Malloy’s low approval numbers might be the key to winning Connecticut in November, but Trump’s current poll numbers just don’t seem to help.

Thank you, Ebong.

Thank you, Bill.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.
Bill began his radio journey on Long Island, followed by stops in Schenectady, Bridgeport, Boston and New York City. He’s glad to be back on the air in Fairfield County, where he has lived with his wife and two sons for more than 20 years.
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