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Trump Steps Up Attacks Against Hillary Clinton During West Virginia Rally


And I'm David Greene in Bozeman, Mont. We're broadcasting this morning from the Feed Cafe - quite an audience here. Good morning everyone.


GREENE: So, you know, I have to tell you, I have a colleague on the line - Don Gonyea. And Don and I covered the White House and campaigns together. We are very used to being apart but together in spirit. Don, are you there?

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Good morning from Charleston, W. Va., everybody.

GREENE: All right. Say good morning to Don Gonyea. It's...


GREENE: So, Don, what took you to West Virginia?

GONYEA: Donald Trump had a big rally here last night. It was his first rally since essentially being assured the GOP nomination. There were probably more than 10,000 people there. And it was in Charleston because there is still a primary here next week.

And I'll tell you, David, it felt like a celebration. And Trump's nomination may no longer be in doubt, but people turned out four hours early. There was a real festive vibe as they waited around the block in lousy weather, I should say.

But let's give a listen to just a little bit of what it was like to be there last night. We're going to first meet Cindy Workman (ph). She's a retired schoolteacher.

CINDY WORKMAN: I'm standing out here in the rain, in a nice long line, with other supporters who are in to see the Donald Trump.

GONYEA: But while she's waiting there, a story broke out of Washington. U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said he's not ready to support Donald Trump. So this is the highest-ranking Republican in the country, Ryan, saying he's not behind his party's de facto nominee. Listen to Workman's reaction.

WORKMAN: I think they're a bunch of sissies. And they need to put on their big-boy panties and stay with the party or else get the hell out of it.

GONYEA: Mostly, though, the talk in this line was about Trump and his run through the primaries and whether he needs to change anything for the general election - his tone or his bragging or his insult-laden campaigning. You're going to hear a couple of voices here. First, Regina Belle (ph). She's a physical therapist.

REGINA BELLE: As far as him acting presidential, I think he just needs to go as is. I mean, be himself. It hasn't hurt him so far.

GONYEA: OK, let's listen to one more guy. His name's Chris Smith.

DAVID SMITH: You know, a lot of people like that about him, that he isn't a politician and he speaks like you and I do. And he doesn't need to concede any of his beliefs for that, but he's definitely going to - you know, he needs to be coached a little bit because he's going to have to pull some other people in.

GONYEA: And David Smith is a 31-year-old out-of-work coal miner. He also said he believes Trump when he promises he's going to bring the lost coal jobs back to the West Virginia mines. And Smith sees Hillary Clinton and the Democrats' environmental policies as part of the war on coal.

GREENE: Big-boy panties, Don.


GREENE: That's what I heard there - right?

GONYEA: Yes, that's what you heard.

GREENE: OK. You know, we heard some of those folks there talking about that Trump needs to do - he needs to be more presidential. Is that what you heard from the candidate last night?

GONYEA: It wasn't real presidential mode. He was still very playful. He joked that he wasn't ready for the primaries to be over with. He lavished praise on his formal rivals. He didn't mention Paul Ryan and those comments about not endorsing him. He focused his attacks on Hillary Clinton - how she'll destroy the coal industry, how she'll be in control of the big lobbyist.

There was a good-sized protest outside. Nothing to disrupt things inside. But at one point Trump said this about next week's West Virginia primary. It's something he actually said several times last night.


DONALD TRUMP: The vote was supposed to be on Tuesday. But now I can say stay home but get twice as many people in November - right? Because we have to win. We have to win the general election.

GONYEA: So I've been covering elections for a long time. And I've never heard a candidate tell people to stay home, telling them not to vote, especially when he does still need to get to the 1,237 delegates to actually be the nominee.

GREENE: All right. NPR's Don Gonyea. It's always good to share the air with you. He's in Charleston, W. Va. Thanks, Don.

GONYEA: My pleasure. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

You're most likely to find NPR's Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what's on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR's National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at NPR.org. To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.