Former President Trump reached back for his 2016 magic with Wednesday’s trip to East Palestine, Ohio, Ben Shapiro said during a chat with Sirius XM host Megyn Kelly.
Trump’s trip to the small town, which is reeling from an environmental disaster caused by a February 3 train derailment, not only upstaged the Biden administration, but rejuvenated Trump’s flagging 2024 presidential campaign, said The Daily Wire co-founder and best-selling author. Trump brought truckloads of supplies, signed MAGA hats, and even treated first responders to a round of Big Macs at the local McDonald’s.
“This was like the perfect moment for Trump,” Shapiro said. “I mean I think it was a softball but you still have to hit the ball. And he hit it out of the park. And I thought it was the best moment of his campaign by far. It put some new life into his candidacy which I thought was kind of dying.”
Kelly noted that President Joe Biden still hasn’t visited the location and instead flew to Ukraine to announce more aid for the embattled nation. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg hadn’t visited East Palestine until Thursday, a day after Trump came to town.
“Trump has made Buttigieg and Biden” follow him,” Kelly observed.
Shapiro said Trump’s trip enabled him to draw a contrast between him and the Biden administration even as he basked in the appreciation of residents.
“This is the first time I saw Trump actually go back to 2016 Trump,” Shapiro said. “Going there and doing all of the Trumpy things that the media hate but are actually kind of charming.”
“I thought it was a great look for Trump. I thought it … reinvigorated a certain magnetism about him. And he does have that magic when he’s doing that mode.”
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Trump’s problem, according to Shapiro, is that in the 2020 campaign, he “got out of that mode” and became too angry. When Trump initially announced his 2024 campaign in November, he stumbled out of the gate with a tepid speech to a small gathering at Mar-a-Lago, said Shapiro. But the East Palestine appearance may have recaptured some of what initially made him successful.
“This is the best version of Trump,” Shapiro said. “This campaign was a complete dud. He launched it was a fail. He didn’t have any electricity.”
Shapiro has previously praised Trump for such matters as his Supreme Court nominations and aspects of his foreign policy, but has also at times been critical of the 45th president. Shapiro told Piers Morgan on Wednesday that he expects Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to win the Republican primary.