Sept. 02--CINCINNATI -- Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Thursday told thousands of veterans from across the country he would allow veterans to seek care from private doctors to avoid long government lines, and he will require patriotism to be taught in schools.
The New York real estate mogul seemed to get a stronger response from the national convention of the American Legion in Cincinnati than his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, did a day earlier.
"We will have an honest government, and that includes an honest State Department, not pay for play," Mr. Trump said in his 16-minute speech, less than half as long as Mrs. Clinton's.
"She probably did not mention that to you yesterday," he said. "Government access and favors will no longer be for sale, and important email records will no longer be deleted and digitally altered. ..."
Rallying later in Republican-friendly Wilmington about an hour north of Cincinnati, Mr. Trump shifted the focus toward jobs.
"Your voice will be heard again, and it won't be the voice of the special interests," he told roughly 3,000 supporters at the Roberts Centre. "It's the powerful protecting the powerful, insiders fighting for insiders. I am fighting for you."
Picking up where he left off the day before in a rally in Arizona, he again called for a halt to acceptance of Syrian refugees into the United States and for a screening of immigrants.
"Incredibly, my opponent, Hillary Clinton, wants a 550 percent increase in refugees from that region," Mr. Trump said in Cincinnati. "Hard to believe. I, on the other hand, want to build a safe zone overseas and use the money we save to invest in America. We do not want to let anyone in our country who does not support our values and is not capable of loving our people."
He largely stuck to script in Cincinnati. While critical of Mrs. Clinton's tenure at the State Department, his speech was void of his trademark name-calling.
"I will be uncompromising in the defense of the United States, and our friends, and our good allies," he said. "We are going to end the era of nation building and create a new foreign policy, joined by our partners in the Middle East that is focused on destroying ISIS and radical Islamic terrorists."
In addition to teaching patriotism in schools, Mr. Trump in Cincinnati called for students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
"We will stop apologizing for America, and we will start celebrating America," he said. "We will be united by our common cultures, values, and principles, becoming one American nation, one country under the one constitution, saluting one American flag -- always saluting."
The Ohio appearances followed Mr. Trump's quick trip to Mexico on Wednesday to meet with President Enrique Pena Nieto and his follow-up speech in Arizona where he further tightened his policies on illegal immigration and deportation policy.
When the Wilmington crowd chanted, "Build the wall," Mr. Trump said, "We're going to build the wall. Mexico's going to pay for the wall."
He said the country has to stop illegal drugs that are pouring into the states.
His Wilmington speech was similar to one delivered last week in Akron, taking aim at the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
The Wilmington community was devastated in 2008 when more than 9,000 jobs were eliminated by the closure of the DHL international shipping operation at a nearby air cargo hub during the last national recession.
Mark Kaddo -- a U.S. Navy veteran, a member of the American Legion, and a Clinton supporter from Cincinnati -- was on a mission headed for Afghanistan when it was diverted to Iraq under President George W. Bush.
"I learned first-hand what happens when you put somebody in the White House who doesn't understand what our military is and what sacrifice is," he said outside the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, where Mr. Trump spoke. "When you have a man like Donald Trump who jokes about always wanting a Purple Heart? That's not a joke."
Mr. Trump stressed that the Veterans Administration, after being overhauled, would remain in government hands under a Trump administration. But he said veterans should be able to go to private doctors if they can't get timely care through the V.A.
Any talk of privatization doesn't sit well with Mr. Kaddo.
"Any kind of privatization, in my opinion, that takes any money from the V.A. and gives it to any private insurance force is a bad thing for veterans -- flat out, 100 percent, a bad thing for veterans. ...," he said.
In Wilmington, Trump supporter Rebekah Thirey, a 24-year-old Realtor two days from her wedding, said she finds Mr. Trump's unvarnished speaking style refreshing.
"A lot of people are against Donald Trump because of the way he represents himself. Our generation, that's very appealing to us. He is rude and very crass, but to have a politician that finally is that way, amazing. Everything's so hush-hush, you don't know what's going on. I don't want a president who's going to be secretive."
Contact Jim Provance at: [email protected] or 614-221-0496.
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