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Trump Touts McCormick, Courts Black Voters at Philadelphia Rally

There was a bit of a bromance between former President Donald Trump and Senate candidate Dave McCormick at Trump’s rally in Philadelphia on Saturday.

Trump endorsed McCormick as “a warrior, a great military person, an incredible guy. And we have to elect him as the U.S. senator from your state. And just so you know, Dave McCormick is a seventh-generation Pennsylvanian who grew up in Bloomsburg, went to West Point, did great there and earned a Bronze Star for his service.”

“Dave went on to an outstanding career in business and now is fighting for the people of this commonwealth. He loves this commonwealth. He really is a high-quality person. I actually said, ‘Dave, are you too high quality for this job?’”

“But I’d rather have that than the other. And honestly, the other senator has been here forever…I don’t think I ever met him in my years in Washington. He doesn’t do anything,” Trump said. “Dave will vote to secure your borders, stand up to China, and unleash incredible amounts of Pennsylvania energy. And he wants to stop Biden inflation.”

Philadelphia fans welcome former President Donald Trump.

Trump also bashed McCormick’s opponent, Democratic incumbent Sen. Bob Casey Jr.

Trump added, “Bob Casey votes with Sleepy Joe 98 percent (of the time). Bob Casey could have voted to stop Joe Biden’s invasion; instead, he voted in favor of sanctuary cities. He voted to give illegal aliens taxpayer-funded benefits. He voted against the border wall… Pennsylvania, you need to defeat open borders Bob Casey.”

On the stump in the swing state that many political observers believe could determine the outcome of the presidential race, Trump hit two issues hard: illegal immigration and the economy.

Trump recounted recent news stories of attacks by illegal immigrants, like a 13-year-old girl allegedly raped in New York City, a 12-year-old Texas girl allegedly assaulted and murdered by two illegal immigrants, and a Maryland mother of five who was allegedly raped and murdered. In every case, the alleged assailants had previously been released into the U.S. by the Biden administration.

“Joe Biden wants to be president for illegal aliens, but I will be president for law-abiding Americans,” Trump said, while promising to “tear up”  the mass amnesty executive order that Biden recently announced. Countries are opening up prisons and mental hospitals and sending inmates to America, he said.

“In Venezuela, crime is down 72 percent,” he said.

Trump also blamed Biden for inflation and said he would bring back prosperity.

“When I left office, inflation was practically nothing. During my term we had gasoline down to $1.87 a gallon. And the 30-year mortgage rate was 2.7 percent. And then Joe Biden blew it to shreds. Biden’s inflation price hikes on energy infrastructure cost the average American family an astounding $28,000.”

“You know, inflation is a disaster,” he said. “It’s a total country buster. And when you look at the prices of eggs and bacon, it’s gone up 100 percent.”

“The monthly cost of a mortgage has gone up under Crooked Joe Biden,” he said. “With me, it was around 2 percent. Now it’s 10 percent, and you can’t get the money.”

“On day one of my administration, we will throw out Bidenomics and replace it with MAGA-nomics,” he said to cheers and applause.

Former President Donald Trump with Senate candidate Dave McCormick

Trump also talked at length about the troubles plaguing Philadelphia, using them to make a pitch for support among Black voters. He specifically called out progressive District Attorney Larry Krasner, saying he has “the blood of countless men and women and children on his hands” for his soft-on-crime policies.

The Trump campaign is making inroads with Black and Hispanic voters, according to recent polling. The rally in a predominantly Black area of Philadelphia, along with endorsements from rap artists and others, is a clear attempt to attract voters who previously voted Democratic.

“The people of our country are looking for hope, whether they are White, Brown, Black or anything else. They’re looking for hope,” Trump told the crowd. “We will also work to lift up Black and Hispanic and other communities in Philadelphia and all across the United States…They’re smart. They want jobs. They want safety. They don’t want to lose their homes.”

Kristina Bowie, a Black Philadelphia resident, attended to support Trump.

“I like his policies,” she said. “I like all he’s trying to do to make America great again.” When Trump was president, “It was just better then.”

But state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia) said his constituents won’t back the former president.

“I represent the community in Philly where Trump is currently ranting and raving. I can authoritatively say my neighbors aren’t in that arena listening to his lies.”

Doylestown residents Peder Cox and Ellen Bowman Cox. Bowman Cox is president of the Doylestown Republican Committee.

When McCormick took the stage, he also focused his comments on the economy and the need for change.

“As a native of Pennsylvania, it breaks my heart that 60 percent of Pennsylvanians are living paycheck to paycheck. Prices are on the rise 20 percent,” said McCormick. “As a combat veteran, it breaks my heart that we can’t make our recruiting numbers, that our military is in decline and that 22 veterans a day kill themselves. We need new leadership.”

Trump’s appearance drew supporters from across the state.

Phoenixville resident Brooke Spinelli said, “I support Trump (for) a number of reasons. School choice. I want the economy to be where it was.” She brought her father, a gun collector who is concerned about his Second Amendment rights, to the rally.

“I think our country was in better shape when Donald Trump was running it,” said Stephanie McCoy from New Holland, in Lancaster County. “He actually cared about the American people and didn’t have our borders opened up for anyone to come in.”

And while Trump’s message in the past on early voting and mail in ballots was less than clear, he urged the Keystone State crowd to get out and vote, whether early, by mail or in person, and to volunteer “to secure our elections.”

“We don’t want them dumping ballots,” he said. “If we win Pennsylvania, we win the presidency.”

About 100 Attend Doylestown Rally for Israel

Around 100 people rallied for Israel outside the courthouse in Doylestown Sunday, many waving Israeli and American flags.

Ellen Cox, with the Doylestown Republican Club, was one of the organizers and spoke to the crowd.

“There are thousands of children in Israel who lost their mothers and countless mothers who’re waiting for their children to come home,” said Cox, acknowledging that it was Mother’s Day. “This nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and we will not be silenced.” Both Jews and Christians are “under attack,” she said.  Just under the surface, there is “horrific antisemitism.”

“The latest trend is in college campuses all over the United States,” she said. “Jewish kids are afraid to attend classes.” Those who are protesting for Palestinians “are cowards who are hitting soft targets of colleges and graduations. They’re so brave. I think we should send them to fight in Gaza. Guess what? No green pup tents. No organic and vegan food and no Wi-fi. They are cowards.”

“It’s now here in CBSD [Central Bucks School District],” she said. “We condemn it. It is not OK.” Jewish people “are our friends, our coworkers.”

 

“We need to stand with them or we—you—will be next. We don’t want our Jewish family and friends and neighbors to feel scared and alone,” said Cox.

She read from a 1790 letter George Washington sent to the Jewish congregation in Newport, R.I., telling its members they were welcome in the newly-founded nation.

“May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants,” Washington wrote. “While everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree.”

Rabbi Mendel Prus, director of Chabad of Doylestown, thanked the group for coming to support Israel. Israel contributes technology “to make the world a better place,” he said. “And a more peaceful place.” It’s contributed military advances to the U.S. and intelligence to “make the world a safer place.”

He then spoke of the Biblical history of the Jews in Israel from the time of Abraham.

Richard Tems said, “I am a Jew. I am an American. I am an Army veteran. I am the son of Holocaust survivors. We will not bend. We will not surrender. We will not comply.”

He noted that all the Jews left Gaza nearly two decades ago and billions [of dollars] poured in to help the inhabitants make “an idyllic homeland.” The residents voted in Hamas to lead them and Hamas spent the money on miles of underground tunnels and “thousands of rockets to fire into Israel” and mansions in Qatar for Hamas leaders.

On Oct. 7, Hamas invaded Israel and attacked farming communes and a music festival near the border. They raped, tortured, mutilated and incinerated  thousands defenseless men, women, children and small infants.”

Tems said, “[President] Biden, on the day he delivered a speech to remember the Holocaust, cut off military supplies to Israel. He told Israel he forbade them to secure the final Hamas stronghold in Rafah.”

Cox introduced Steve Mekanik, who is running for state representaive in District 29.

“It’s not about me today. It’s about Israel. We’re here for the support of Israel,” Mekanik told DVJournal.

Huntingdon Valley resident Monique Hofkin attended the rally because she is concerned about antisemitism at colleges and also in schools.  She noted the U.S. Department of Education is investigating Central Bucks for antisemitism. And there was also a teacher at Baldi Middle School in northeast Philadelphia, who crossed Israel off a list of countries and substituted Palestine.  There’s “systemic antisemitism [in the schools] and we aren’t going to allow it to continue,” she said.

Mara Witsen was wearing a sweatshirt with the images of the hostages Hamas is holding.  The five American hostages are Keith Sieel, Omer Neutra, Sagui Dekel-Chen, Dan Alexander, and Hersh Goldberg-Polin.

Jack Potok of Warrington noted that while the pro-Israel group carried both American and Israeli flags, “where on campus have you seen an American flag, except being burned on the ground? They’re not just anti-Israel, they’re anti-West.”

The Israeli army is the only army in the world that tells civilians to leave before it attacks, warning civilians with flyers, phone calls, and knock-knock (warnings) on their roofs,” he said.

Philadelphia resident Malcolm Ratson added that historically, armies kill 30 civilians to one soldier. The IDF has a 1 to 1 ratio in Gaza. “That’s how stringent the Israelis are,” he said.

A small group of pro-Palestinian counter-protesters came as the pro-Israel rally was winding down, and stood in a traffic island across from the pro-Israel rally and began chanting slogans: “Free, free Palestine” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

People at the pro-Israel rally began singing “Am Israel Chai,” dancing and  chanting “Free Palestine from Hamas,” and “Islamist terror will not be a threat to our democracy.”

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New PA Law Adds Sanctions for Russian, Belarus Companies

On Sunday, local supporters of Ukraine rallied.

On Monday, Pennsylvania elected officials acted.

As the grim second anniversary of the Ukraine-Russia War arrived, about 700 people came to the famous steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art for a rally on Sunday, encouraging the U.S. to continue supporting Ukraine as funding for the war-torn country remains stalled in Congress.

On Monday, Pennsylvania officials announced a law is in effect that prevents companies connected to Russia and Belarus from receiving Pennsylvania state contracts, grants or tax credits.

“My constituents of Ukrainian descent have been clear. They do not want their tax dollars supporting the war crimes committed by Russia,” said state Sen. Dave Argall (R-Schuylkill/Carbon/Luzerne). “We should not be investing in companies that support the attempt of Putin’s Russia to extinguish democracy in Ukraine.”

Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity said, “After Vladamir Putin’s unjustified and illegal invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, I immediately ended the Pennsylvania Treasury Department’s investments in any Russian and Belarusian entities. I strongly support Sen. Argall’s work to ensure that no state funds are given to any company connected to Russia or Belarus.”

“The Ukrainian American community thanks and salutes Pennsylvania for its steadfast, consistent, and persistent support of Ukraine and her people,” said Towamencin resident Eugene Luciw, president of the Philadelphia branch of the Congress Committee of America. He praised the actions of Keystone State leaders.

“At the very outset of Putin’s brutal, indeed genocidal, criminal attack on Ukraine and her innocent people, Pennsylvania imposed a round of harsh, comprehensive sanctions against Russia. It dispossessed itself of all Russian assets, most notably those held by government employee pension plans. Gov. Wolf also sent non-lethal military aid in the guise of, among other things, surplus body armor and helmets. Monies were set aside to assist expected refugees,” Luciw said.

Argall introduced the bill that would become Act 57 of 2023 at the outset of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The bill ultimately received unanimous, bipartisan support in both chambers of the General Assembly and was signed into law by Gov. Josh Shapiro on Dec. 14, 2023.

The law prevents companies from receiving state contracts, grants, or tax credits if the U.S. Treasury Department finds they are owned, controlled by, or acting on behalf of the Russian or Belarusian governments.

Far more significant, foreign policy experts say, was Monday’s vote by Hungary approving Sweden as the 32nd member of NATO, adding its military to the collective opposition to Russian expansion.

Over the weekend, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy shared the number of Ukrainian soldiers — 31,000 — killed since Russia’s invasion two years ago. He declined to give the number of wounded or the total civilian loss count, saying that information would aid the Putin regime.

Last year, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Lvova-Belova for the war crime of unlawful deportation and transfer of children from Ukraine to Russia.

Luciw added, “Not only has the commonwealth continuously maintained its sanctions against Russia and its malign actors, but it now honors the second anniversary of Ukraine’s valiant defense of its own and the free world’s liberty and democracy by expanding the scope of its measures to companies connected with the Russian government. These punitive actions complement the sanctions that the Biden administration just announced quite well.

“We are proud of our commonwealth,” said Luciw. “It is at the lead among all states in the union and stands as a model for local and federal governments throughout the free world.”

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Israel Solidarity Rally Brings 1,000 to Wynnewood

At a rally held in solidarity with Israel Monday night, Ardmore resident Amichai Shdemah told the story of his step-grandmother’s abduction from her home in Nir Oz kibbutz by Hamas terrorists.

The woman, whom Shdemah calls “Savta” or grandmother, is 84.

“We know some details. In the morning, she was hiding in the safe room,” Shdemah said. “Later, a neighbor heard her calling for help and went outside. He realized he couldn’t help her. There were too many terrorists, and he fled back to his safe room.”

Family members kept trying to call her cell phone. Eventually, someone answered and said in Arabic, “Hamas.”

“We are helpless and sick with worry,” he said. Officials gave the family no information. “They have checked hospitals,” he said. “And the list of the dead.”

“She was a social worker who worked with many families,” he continued. She has the “gift of an enormous family and remembers everybody’s birthday. She always made us feel part of her family. Her chicken soup is our kids’ favorite.”

Gov. Josh Shapiro

With signs that said “Philly Stands With Israel” and blue and white Israeli flags, around 1,000 people rallied in Wynnewood to support the Jewish state after the horrific Hamas terrorist attack that began on Saturday.

The group prayed, sang, and listened to remarks from politicians, clergy, and Jewish community leaders.

Michael Balaban, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Jewish Federation, organized the rally. He thanked the supporters and donors who’ve aided the beleaguered Jewish state.

“I don’t have sufficient words to describe the horror of the past few days,” said Balaban. “To wake up on Saturday morning, on Shabbat, a day of rest and Smideot Serot, to the news that Israel, our Jewish homeland and our Jewish people, had been attacked with thousands of rockets. And hundreds of terrorists infiltrated from Gaza. The news of Israelis being murdered, taken hostage, thousands wounded.”

“To read news of toddlers being kidnapped by terrorists,” said Balaban. “To know that refresh of social media or the news would bring with it horrific new details. We stand united, but we also stand in pain together,” he said. “We are heartbroken. We cry together. We are grieving. And we are angry.”

“In our own streets of Philadelphia and in Times Square,” he added, “while Jews are being massacred, there are those that cheer for our destruction. We’ve heard them call these terrorists’ freedom fighters,’ but that’s not what they are. They’re murderers who’ve stolen the lives of innocent Jews.”

“We’ve seen this same hatred time and time again. Like a virus, hatred of Jews has survived over time by mutating,” he said.

Gov. Josh Shapiro said, “We stand against terror, and we stand with Israel.”

Many are worried about our friends and family in Israel, which is “now a war zone.”

Others have never been to Israel but “recognize its critical role in the world. You recognize what Israel represents: Freedom. Democracy and peace. Those are values that we as Americans and we as Pennsylvanians hold dear.”

The gathering was near the spot where William Penn arrived 341 years ago, said Shapiro.

Penn had “a vision to build a colony built on the promise of religious tolerance and understanding,” said Shapiro. “Today, three and half centuries later, I am honored to address you tonight, both as the 48th governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and as a proud American Jew.”

“We must condemn the horrific acts of war perpetrated by Hamas and their enablers,” Shapiro said. “Hundreds of Israelis are among the dead and captured. But so are American citizens, as well as British, French, Canadian, Mexican, and so many other nationalities…These unprovoked attacks on innocent civilians warrant condemnation here in America and all across our globe…Let me speak the truth. There is no moral equivalency between Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization as designated by the United States, and Israel,  the only functioning pluralistic democracy in the Middle East.”

Tsach Sa’ar, Acting Consul General of Israel, said, “My homeland is bleeding. My homeland is burning. And my homeland is the closest ally of your homeland in the Middle East and beyond. This same homeland is the spiritual anchor for the Jewish community in America.”

On a joyous day in the Jewish calendar, “Palestinian terrorists from Hamas unleashed unprecedented terror. They killed over 1,000 individuals. Left thousands injured. And abducted more than 100. The victims, Jews and non-Jews, Israelis and Americans, and other foreigners…The atrocities committed are unspeakable. Children were murdered. Women were assaulted and abducted to Gaza. Elderly women at a bus stop were sprayed with bullets. Others were set ablaze.”

“It marks the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust,” said Sa’ar.

Gail Norry

“These horrifying actions were not just against Israel. They were acts against America, against the free world and all of humanity.”

Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Philadelphia/Delaware) and about 14 state legislators attended the rally. Representatives from the offices of other area congressional representatives, as well as from Sen. Bob Casey and Sen. John Fetterman, attended.

“I stand with Israel 100 percent,” said Philadelphia resident Gail Norry before the rally. “I’m horrified at what has happened. They took innocent lives. Havoc has been wreaked.

“These were people sleeping in their homes,” said Norry. “Young adults at a concert. They just had their entire lives turned upside down. The nature of the attack, just how horrible it was.” She had just traveled to Israel in May to celebrate Israel’s 75th anniversary.

“It is the only place to be in Philly if you’re a strong supporter of Israel and a proud Jew,” said Joshua Steinerman, a Bala Cynwyd resident who came with his family.

Mastriano to Bucks County: Crime Surge on Shapiro’s Watch ‘Disqualifying’

Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano unloaded both barrels on his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, over soaring crime in the Keystone State.

“On his watch as the senior law enforcement official in the state, crime has gone up 40 percent, that alone is disqualifying,” he told some 700 people at the Fuge in Warminster on Saturday afternoon. “He doesn’t want to talk about 1,000 or more carjackings in Philadelphia, a record number of homicides…and he is a complete, utter, and ridiculous failure.”

They can’t keep up  (with digging) the graves with the young people killed in the crossfire, mostly 15, 18-year-old kids,” Mastriano said.

Participants chanted “Doug for Guv.” Mastriano spoke without notes for about 45 minutes, making his case for why voters should elect him governor.

A 30-year Army veteran, he repeated the classic quote, “Old soldiers never die. They just fade away.”

“There’s no time for us to fade away,” he said. “Our country needs every one of us.”

Mastriano said he has offered to debate Shapiro and would allow him to “bring Donna Brazile,” but “he’s chicken.”

Shapiro has turned his back on “mostly women” who are being sex trafficked in the state, Mastriano charged. Instead, Shapiro sued the Little Sisters of the Poor, spending millions in taxpayers’ money to lose in the U.S. Supreme Court, and sued to keep kids in masks and businesses shut down. On his watch, nearly 10,000 criminals were released from jail.

Mastriano promised, “On day one, woke is broke.”

“Parents will have their powers back,” he continued. “There will be full school transparency…all the pornographic books will be pulled out. On day one and done, Critical Race Theory will be thrown out the window. And maybe bring back civics, the constitution, and Pennsylvania history.”

Mastriano said he was being attacked as not supporting women’s rights and called on his wife, Rebbie, to speak.

Sen. Doug Mastriano and his wife, Rebbie. (Courtesy Tom Sofield, editor/publisher Levittown/Now.com)

She said Republicans support a woman’s right to be born, to have baby formula, to have a say in her child’s education, raise a child in “a safe community where the government enforces the law, prosecutes crime, and doesn’t let criminals out early.”

“And we believe, as Pennsylvanians, that it’s a woman’s right to the Second Amendment,” she added, drawing loud cheers and applause.

“And we believe it’s a woman’s right to compete in sports that are not dominated by men,” said Rebbie, who also serves as Mastriano’s campaign manager. “They’re trying to cancel us. I know each and every one of you can define a woman and tell some of those in your neighborhood what a woman is. Ladies, we’re going to get out that vote like you’ve never seen before.”

Mastriano said boys in girls’ bathrooms threaten public safety. He backed a bill to ensure only girls and women play women’s sports. Gov. Tom Wolf (D) vetoed that bill, and Shapiro filed an amicus brief opposing Virginia’s efforts to keep boys out of girls’ restrooms and locker rooms.

While the Republican nominee trails in the polls, he told the crowd he is waging a grassroots campaign. Since the primary, he has been to all 67 counties, with Bucks, one of the original counties founded by William Penn, as the last.

Mastriano recalled Washington’s “daring raid” crossing the Delaware River from Bucks County to New Jersey, changing the course of the Revolutionary War. He told his supporters they would do the same and “beat back the Democrats and that far, extreme radial, dangerous policy vision they have for our state and nation. We just say no to Shapiro.”

“The Democrats haven’t changed much,” he said. “They don’t have an argument to stand on, so they call names.”

The Democrats are lying and “fearmongering,” he said. “It’s time to take the state back.”

The Democrats have a “laundry list” of things they do not want to talk about, like shutting down small businesses during COVID and the state deciding which could stay open.

“All the cabinet makers across Pennsylvania were shut down, except one. Wolf Industries,” he said. “You could go to strip clubs but not churches. Life under (Health Secretary Rachel) Levine and life under Shapiro.”

“I was in Germany behind the Iron Curtain in 1989 during the Cold War defending us from what the radical left is planning here,” he said. “The godlessness, the evil empire…The fight for freedom is still ongoing for our country, so our job is not done.”

“For our kids and grandkids, we have to win on the 8th of November,” he said. “Our motto is freedom.”

Conservative writer and commentator Jack Posobiec also spoke, saying he grew up in Norristown. He said when drugs flooded that small city, Shapiro was a Montgomery County commissioner and did nothing to help. Norristown has gotten so bad that Posobiec said he has never taken his two sons to see the street he grew up on.

“This (Democratic) cabal took from us, they took from our families, they want to destroy our families,” he said. “The only thing they care about is power.”

Mastriano’s message resonated with Eileen Storch of Newtown. She opposes boys in girls’ restrooms and biological boys competing in girls’ sports.

“That’s wrong,” she said.

David Fiori, Jr. of Yardley said Mastriano “makes a lot of good sense. He’s applying common sense to politics. He has great leadership skills. He relates to everybody. He understands what the stakes are, and he’s not afraid to face the issues of the day.”

A Montgomery Township woman who did not want to give her name said she supports Mastriano because of “schools, taxes, and the economy.”

Mastriano said he had spoken to 500 people in Chester County earlier in the day and had a second event with Gun Owners of America in Bucks County following the Fuge rally. Reports of the “early demise” of his campaign were utterly wrong, he said.

“You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

 

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In Bridgeport, Hundreds Rally for Ukraine

Phoenixville resident and teacher Andrij Chornodolsky had a crowd of several hundred on its feet clapping and cheering Sunday at Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church in Bridgeport, rallying in support of Ukraine.

“I think all of us have to bow our heads in front of the huge sacrifice and valor of the Ukrainian nation totally unanticipated, totally unbelievable, all of the military experts (said) Kyiv would fall in 48 hours.

“Kyiv stands today. Kyiv stands today and Kyiv will stand forever…If we have to rebuild every single building, every single historical relic we have preserved for 1,000 years, we rebuild. We will rebuild Ukraine ourselves if we have to…We must preserve a Christian nation, a nation of democratic values,” Chornodolsky told the crowd.

Andrij Chornodolsky with Father Ronald Poplvchak

Chornodolsky said military help is needed.

“We are demanding action now. What must be installed around Kyiv is an iron dome. Without that iron dome, Kyiv will be leveled…We must implement a Berlin-style airlift to Ukraine with a continual flow of weapons and support. Now. Not when Kyiv falls…What is happening is a war of attrition and destruction that has never been seen since World War II.”

Congresswomen Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery) and Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Delaware Co.), were among the officials who attended the event.

Dean took part in a Zoom call with Zelensky and other representatives and senators on Saturday.

“He was exactly as you have seen him in the media, determined. Dignified,” she said. She quoted him saying, “Our values are the same. We want a life with dignity. We want to see our children. We want to sit and have coffee in our homes…We cannot fight this alone…We are not fighting Russia. We are prepared to be their neighbors. Imagine saying that after these past 10 or 11 days. He called upon us for increased sanctions…He said they need air cover, ‘We need jets. We need those MIGs. Javelins, stingers, air cover.’”

“Mr. Putin expected a quick topple of Ukraine’s young democracy,” she said. “Boy, was he wrong. I’m in awe of the resilience of the Ukrainians including their president.”

She called for “overwhelming support,” including weapons, food, fuel, and refuge.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro, state Rep. Austin Davis, Congresswoman Madeleine Dean, Bridgeport Mayor Beth Jacksier, Father Ronald Poplvchak, Council President Kyle Shenk and Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon.

Chornodolsky also expressed surprise and admiration for Ukraine’s president.

“We are grateful for the presence of President Volodymyr Zelensky, totally unexpected. I did not support him for president…I am totally amazed at what this man has done. We are talking about prosecuting President Putin for war crimes but what we ought to be talking about is nominating President Zelensky for the Nobel Peace Prize.  What a sacrifice we are seeing…Putin put 200,000 troops on the border of Ukraine, poor boys, poor children of Russian mothers. They didn’t even know where they were going…Poor boys going back home in plastic bags.

“We don’t wish that on anyone…But we do wish death on those who invade Ukraine.”

Scanlon thanked the Biden administration for permitting the Ukrainians who are already here special status to remain in the U.S. She supports the people of Ukraine and their “gallant president” in the face of the “unprovoked attack on that sovereign nation.”

“The free world has rallied to condemn and sanction Putin,” she said.

This week Congress will approve a package of humanitarian and military aid for Ukraine, she said.

“We are all united behind Ukraine,” she said.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is the great-grandson of two people who emigrated from Ukraine about 100 years ago. Shapiro, a Democrat running for governor, said he was inspired by the Ukrainians fighting for democracy and their president.

And as a prosecutor, he said, Putin should be prosecuted for war crimes.

“My own faith teaches no one is required to complete the task, nor are we free to refrain from it. I think about that each and every day,” said Shapiro. “It means that each of us has a responsibility to get off the sidelines to get in the game and do our part.”

Irena and Ruslana Naiva hold the Ukrainian flag.

“And so we are gathered here today in the huge numbers that we are you are putting a searing image into the minds of your two congresswomen who will be in Washington D.C. tomorrow and pass a historic appropriation…We are all standing in solidarity with Ukraine,” he said.

The Rev. Dr. Ronald Poplvchak, pastor of the church, said a Ukrainian mother and her 4-year-old daughter whose apartment building was bombed, began to walk and hitchhike 20 miles to the Polish border with “only the clothes on their backs.”

“The mother looked at the little girl. Her right hand was bleeding,” he said.

The child was tightly clutching a handful of sharp pebbles. She told her mother she did not have her doll or her bear and the stones were all she had left from her home.

He thanked the Polish people for taking in one million Ukrainian refugees so far and asked the crowd to donate, as well. The group responded, filling collection baskets with cash and checks. The rally ended with the group singing the Ukrainian national anthem while the American and Ukrainian flags flanked the dais.

Volunteers also collected about three container trucks of donations at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Abington.

“The place is towering with donations,” Dean said.

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