Donald Trump Sounds the Alarm, Citing 'Tremendous Problem' in Deep Red Utah

Trump made the appeal to religious leaders in Florida.

ByABC News
August 11, 2016, 4:34 PM
Donald Trump speaks to a group of pastors at the Orlando Convention Center, Aug. 11, 2016, in Orlando, Florida.
Donald Trump speaks to a group of pastors at the Orlando Convention Center, Aug. 11, 2016, in Orlando, Florida.
Evan Vucci/AP Photo

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump raised questions about his campaign during a speech in Florida Thursday afternoon, admitting he needs help in traditionally red Utah and calling for reinforcement in other crucial swing states.

As polls continue to show the New York billionaire’s numbers slipping, Trump asked a group of religious leaders for their assistance.

"You’ve got to get your people out to vote, and especially in those states where we’re represented," said Trump, referring to religious populations. "[We're] having a tremendous problem in Utah. Utah’s a different place and I don’t know, is anybody here from Utah?... I didn’t think so. We’re having a problem."

The Beehive State has gone for Republicans in the last 12 presidential elections, including in 2012 when nearly 73 percent of voters cast their ballots for Mitt Romney.

Trump's first mention of Utah in a campaign speech comes just days after the Clinton campaign showed signs that it believes it can turn the state.

It was earlier this week that Hillary Clinton penned an op-ed with the Deseret News titled “What I Have In Common With Utah Leaders – Religious Freedom and the Constitution.”

Trump attempted a religious plea of his own near the end of his remarks. The candidate told the audience of pastors at the American Renewal Project's event that this is the most important election in history and that once he's elected he'll be able to work his way back into good religious favor.

"Once I get in, I will do my thing that I do very well," he said. "And I figure it’s probably maybe the only way I’m going to get to heaven, so I better do a good job.

Vowing to repeal the "Johnson Amendment" that prevents religious organizations from endorsing political candidates while maintaining their tax-exempt status, Trump promised a future where those in the room could openly affirm support for their chosen leaders. Until then, he continued to call for their informal backing.

"We need help in Ohio. We’re very close in Ohio, Ohio’s very close, but we need help," said Trump. "And the fact that you’re in Florida... many of you are in Florida, but if you could send out the word to Ohio, Pennsylvania, some of those really important swing states. I’m telling you, we will do it.”

Some national polls now show Trump trailing Clinton by double digits, with Rust Belt battleground states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin appearing to be out of reach and some Republican strongholds like Georgia being threatened.

"Because we’re close, we’re very close. I mean they’re all close," said Trump. "Pennsylvania’s a little further off, but I think we’re gonna win Pennsylvania because [of] the miners. She wants the miners out of business. She wants steel out of business. I mean look, she’s a disaster.”

Trump’s campaign has struggled in recent weeks to recapture the lead in any swing state polls. A recent analysis by ABC News of CMAG data showed that the Clinton campaign has spent $56 million on television advertisements this cycle, whereas the Trump campaign has spent $0.

“She's spending hundreds of millions of dollars on ads, hundreds of millions, and a new poll just came out this morning that has us essentially even and I haven't spent anything," Trump said at a rally in Miami Thursday morning. "In fact, I have ads, whatever the number is, that she's got just hundreds and they have Trump zero. I said that's OK, that's OK we sit back and wait.”

Related Topics