>> I want to bring the steel industry back into our country.>> President Trump's plan for steel and aluminum tariffs has so far brought outrage from close US allies, blowback from his own party, and the abrupt departure of top economic advisor, Gary Cohn.>> That takes tariffs.>> So why is he doing it?
Republican strategists say part of the answer might lie just outside Pittsburgh, in the heart of Pennsylvania steel country, with a Trump loving candidate named Rick Saccone, who's facing voters in a fierce battle next week for what is normally a safe GOP seat in Congress. US politics editor, Karen Bohan, is following the story.
>> Rick Saccone is vying against Democrat Conor Lamb in the Pennsylvania special election for a congressional seat. This district incorporates a part of steel country. This is an area where Trump's message about trade, about getting tough on trading partners, has resonated. Several Republican strategists who talk frequently with the White House spoke to us.
And they said that likely the Pennsylvania special election was one of the factors that prompted the President to speak out about the tariffs and signal action at this time.>> The seat had been held by Republican Tim Murphy, who resigned after a sex scandal.>> In enforcing the laws we have-
>> Saccone is a died in the wool conservative, famed for the tag line, I was Trump before Trump was Trump.>> He had been hoping for a somewhat easy victory, but recent polls have suggested that Conor Lamb is not only pulling even with him but maybe even pulling ahead.
>> I think we can have a government that gets the job done again.>> Lamb, who got a hand from former Vice-President Joe Biden this week, is a former Marine and federal prosecutor who has run a centrist campaign steering clear of Democratic talking points like gun control.>> Democrats are hoping for a win in Pennsylvania because that will really underscore the momentum that they seem to have generated and demonstrate some strength here.
>> Trump's set to give Saccone a boost on Saturday with a campaign rally near Pittsburgh just days before voters head to the polls, showing he's intent on avoiding an embarrassing loss.>>