Donald Trump promised veterans he would focus on "Americanism, not globalism" as president, contrasting starkly with Democrat Hillary Clinton's message of global engagement to the American Legion convention the day before.
"Remember, America first, America first," Trump told the veterans group Thursday morning at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati. "You’re one group I don’t need to tell. ... We will stop apologizing for America, and we will start celebrating America.”
Trump's Cincinnati address came hours after he generally doubled down on his hard-line immigration stances in a speech in Arizona. But this morning's speech wasn't about fiery immigration rally lines. Instead, Trump told veterans he would strengthen the military, secure the U.S.'s borders, get better health care for veterans and lead the country so it will "start facing the world with confidence again."
The fiery lines may come later: The Republican nominee also is scheduled to hold a rally in Wilmington, Ohio, at noon.
Trump's Cincinnati visit comes the day after Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton addressed the American Legion, attacking Trump for his rejection of the notion that the U.S. is "exceptional" among world nations. While Trump wants to "make America great again," Clinton insists the U.S. already is great. She advocated for continuing to use the standing of the United States to engage globally, saying Trump's isolationism would threaten the U.S.'s standing and values.
Clinton didn't name her Republican rival, but did focus much of her speech on criticizing and contrasting with him, which made some American Legion members uncomfortable. They cited the Legion's non-partisan policy.
Trump criticized Clinton once by name and referred to the former secretary of state occasionally. He said a Trump administration would ensure its State Department didn't trade in favors or delete its emails. "I bet you didn't hear that yesterday," Trump said, in a reference to Clinton's private email server and questions about State Department meetings with donors to the Clinton Foundation.
The two candidates are returning to Ohio as polls show them locked in a tight race in the quintessential swing state. Clinton has just under a 4-percentage-point lead over Trump in the RealClearPolitics average of Ohio polls in the last month. Her lead over Trump nationally is slightly larger, nearly 5 percentage points, and she is dominating in swing states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and New Hampshire
Trump's trip to Southwest Ohio wraps up a whirlwind 24 hours of travel. After making a surprise visit to Mexico to meet with its president, Trump gave a strident speech Wednesday night in Arizona generally affirming the immigration stances he held in the primary, including his plans to deport people who are in the U.S. without proper documentation.
Trump left open the possibility that people who moved to the U.S. illegally before President Obama took office might not be deported, but said his administration wouldn't make a final decision about them until its other plans were implemented.
He also affirmed he would build a wall on the border with Mexico and get that country to pay for it, despite saying earlier in the day that the two countries share the responsibility for building the wall. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said he told the Republican nominee Mexico wouldn't pay for a wall, but Trump said the two didn't talk about the subject.