President Trump Goes to Youngstown

With Results in Short Supply, Promises Stack Up

In Ohio, people expect their President to deliver. They expect their elected leaders to make the concerns of the people their own, and to labor every day to solve them. Yesterday the President of the United States visited Youngstown, Ohio. But this wasn’t Donald Trump’s first visit. On the campaign trail, Donald Trump spent a lot of time and energy trying to sell his message in Youngstown, Pittsburgh, and Detroit and cities like them. It is no secret that his surprise victory came in large part from relentlessly pitching a simple yet effective economic message to regions of the country that were left behind in the global economy. In communities like Youngstown we judge politicians by one standard: have they delivered on their promises. Now that President Trump sits in the Oval Office, it’s clear that he has NOT delivered on his long list of promises to working class Americans.

I’ve lived in the Youngstown-area my whole life, and our community wants to know that leaders are going to try to solve our problems. But the view from the heartland is that the President is overwhelmed with trying to solve his own problems. The voters that supported him did so because they have struggled economically for decades. I have seen the destruction first hand. Jobs have been replaced by machines; industries have moved overseas; shops, restaurants and businesses closed from lack of demand; municipal budgets cratered. Yet year after year, politicians and public officials come here promising that they can bring back the ‘glory days’. Donald Trump is just the latest in a long line of politicians peddling snake-oil, trying to get my friends and neighbors to believe that someone can wave a magic wand and make all our problems disappear.

Last night, President Trump told my constituents that he would re-open closed coal mines and shuttered steel mills by turning back environmental protections. We have heard this before. He campaigned on this for two years. And now Donald Trump is President, but I don’t see any new coal mines. Where are these new steel mills? Where are the jobs? These are promises he can’t keep and, worse yet, he hasn’t even tried. Where is the trillion dollar transportation and infrastructure bill? Where is the strategy to deal with globalization? Automation? Crickets. New economy jobs? Crickets. President Trump has no focus, just chaos.

We want a strategy forward, not tweets and applause lines. Right now there are amazing opportunities to make long lasting investments into our future. The typical wind turbine has over 8,000 component parts: ball bearings, steel tubing, and electrical components — all things that can be manufactured and assembled in places like Youngstown, Pittsburgh and Detroit. And these are jobs that we can keep here in the United States. They can be built by American workers, they can be installed and be maintained by American workers. The solar industry alone employs three times as many people as the coal industry — a complete reversal from just a short time ago.

With the President’s Russia scandal growing by the hour and his party’s domestic agenda in a rut, it is safe to assume the President’s visit to Youngstown, an area he perceived to be friendly territory, was meant to be a sort of reset, or refresher on his declining approval numbers. To try to remind voters about his promises to the hard working American family.

President Donald Trump with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

It is ironic that President Trump’s visit fell on the same day that the Senate voted to start debate on the disastrous TrumpCare bill. In Northeast, Ohio we are home to some of the world’s finest healthcare institutions — the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospital, Akron Children’s Hospital, Mercy Health. Yet instead of supporting these institutions, President Trump stood in front of crowds in Youngstown and advocated for legislation that will not only cause at least 22 million people to lose their health insurance and cause immeasurable human suffering and loss, but some studies show could cost Ohio up to 98,800 jobs by 2026. How is this going to help my constituents and the people of Ohio?

We’re not fools, and we’re not a prop. President Trump cannot hide from his lack of action or this legislation, and we will hold him accountable for his decisions since taking office. Because while he is preoccupied with scoring cheap political points, it is critical that we stay focused and continue to push for a 21st Century economy that recognizes the need for good paying jobs, quality, affordable healthcare, and embraces the challenge of global change ahead. Forging a comprehensive plan forward rather than promising to bring back the past is hard. The politics of fear and envy are easy compared to genuine innovation and leadership, but the stakes are too high not to pursue a future where every one of our sons and daughters can live the American Dream.

Congressman Tim Ryan represents the 13th District of Ohio. Learn more about him at: timryan.house.gov