SHARONVILLE, Ohio — After a Wednesday evening fundraiser with (some of) Cincinnati's Republican kingmakers, Trump made his second public campaign appearance in Ohio since the March primary delivered the state's 66 GOP delegates to Gov. John Kasich, instead of the now-presumptive nominee.
Speaking at the Sharonville Convention Center, Trump covered his usual bases — he renewed his promises to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, to take military action against the Islamic state group and to make the United States a country of "winners" — and delivered a few topical variations on his well-recognized spiel.
The Trump campaign has never hesitated to criticize presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, but U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch's Wednesday announcement that Clinton would not be subject to further investigations over her private email server added a new talking point to the existing list.
Trump on Clinton: “I’m hitting her so hard, and I know it doesn’t mean anything because the system is rigged.” @WCPO
— Pat LaFleur (@pat_laFleur) July 6, 2016
Trump accused Clinton of having persuaded Lynch to block additional investigation with a promise to keep her on as attorney general.
The candidate also hinted that Newt Gingrich, who campaigned to become the GOP nominee in 2012, could be his running mate if he received the party nomination at the Republican National Convention later this month.
"I'm not saying it's Newt," Trump said. "But if it is Newt, no one's beating him in the debates."
The large crowd otherwise got what it might have expected: denunciation of the media, plus promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to make the country .
Trump addressing Saddam Hussein controversy now - "I said bad guy, Saddam Hussein but he did one thing right, he killed terrorists." @WCPO
— Amanda Seitz (@amandaseitz1) July 6, 2016
Near the end of his speech, Trump made an appeal to older voters by promising to restore the country to the international pedestal it occupied in the first half of the 20th century.
“When we were young, we never lost a war," said Trump.
Many of the Republican party's most recognizable figures have struggled with Trump's candidacy, including Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and both former presidents Bush, but his rallies continue to attract strong turnout from supporters.
Trump's moment of truth will arrive in Ohio July 18, when the Republican National Convention begins in Cleveland.