* Washington Post…
President Donald Trump on Thursday used a taxpayer-funded trip to Illinois to openly advocate for electing Republicans to Congress — blurring the line between official and political events in the heat of the midterm campaign season.
“You’ve got to vote Republican, folks, you’ve got to vote Republican,” Trump said during the speech at the Hot Strip Mill in Granite City, Ill. — a steel plant that had recently reopened. “Vote for these two congressmen, they know what we’re doing. They know what they’re doing. They’re tough and they’re smart.”
Trump didn’t name the lawmakers, but three Illinois Republicans accompanied him during his tour of the steel plant, according to the White House: Reps. Mike Bost, Rodney Davis and John Shimkus. Bost represents the district Trump traveled to on Thursday and has been one of the most fervent Republican supporters of the president’s tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
Trump headed to deep red southern part of Illinois, where he celebrated the reopening of a steel mill in Republican Rep. Mike Bost’s district.
Trump won Madison County bigly, but the region has several elected Democrats. It used to be mostly Democratic, but now it’s a swing area. Hardly “deep red.”
* Herald & Review…
President Donald Trump and U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis had plenty of praise for one another Thursday as the president visited an southwestern Illinois steel mill where laid-off workers recently went back to work.
Trump acknowledged Davis, a Taylorville Republican, and U.S. Reps. Mike Bost and John Shimkus during his speech to several hundred employees and supporters at the mill in Granite City, with the president calling the trio “very special people.”
“They fight for you, those three people fight for you all the time,” Trump told the crowd. “In fact, they fight so much that I sometimes say ‘I don’t want to take their call today.’” […]
Davis had nothing but positive things to say about Trump when talking about the event, praising Trump as a “very friendly, very jovial (and) affable person” willing to meet with lawmakers to discuss issues affecting their constituents.
But Davis, asked separately if Rauner should have attended, did not criticize the governor.
“Anybody that wants to try and get a politician in two places at once is only playing politics,” Davis said.
* Illinois News Network…
Davis, R-Taylorville, talked about the impacts of the foreign steel tariffs before the event.
“When you look around this room and this building today, just a few months ago this plant was shuttered and the folks that are sitting around us excited because they have a job because this decision to really focus on the steel industry, it’s for them this matters most,” Davis said. “Because just a few years ago when the Obama administration was asked to help when they see a country like China try to decimate our domestic steel industry, they didn’t help. This administration did and these families are back to work, that’s what matters the most.”
The steel plant is in the congressional district of Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Bost of Murphysboro, who arrived with Trump on Air Force One. He’s facing Democratic challenger Brendan Kelly, the St. Clair County state’s attorney.
* Alton Telegraph…
Large groups of supporters and protesters of President Donald Trump met just down the street from one another in Granite City as the presidential motorcade swept in for a speech on trade at U.S. Steel’s Granite City Works plant.
More than 1,000 people lined 19th Street, waving flags and signs, while an anti-Trump rally in Civic Park attracted about 400, and two inflated Trump chickens.
And although only a block separated them, the two groups appeared to live in separate worlds.
At the park, the inflatable chickens were initially waiting for the arrival of a generator to inflate them, then the larger chicken — at more than 30-feet high — had to be moved. Organizers said the second chicken represented U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, who attended Trump’s speech.
Before Trump even arrived in the St. Louis-area, the United Steelworkers Union showed its support for Bost’s Democratic opponent in November.
“Mike Bost betrayed our nation when he voted for the Fast Track Authority. This not only hurts Steelworkers — it has devastated Southern Illinois,” said Steelworkers District 7 Director Mike Millsap. “U.S.W. members are proud to stand with our brother, Brendan Kelly, who will put the workforce of Southern Illinois first.”