Trump dons miner's hat in coal country

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump dons a miner's hard hat and mimes shovelling coal while proclaiming his pro-coal message at a campaign rally in West Virginia.

WEST VIRGINIA (REUTERS) - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Thursday (May 5) took his pro-coal message to one of the state's hit hardest by the declining coal prices - West Virginia.

Mr Trump repeated his calls for continued coal production and dismissed environmental concerns as a policy priority.

His pro-coal, anti-trade message resonated so well with the economically distressed voters of the rural, traditionally coal-reliant parts of the eastern Appalachian region that the vice-president of the West Virginia Coal Association showed up at the rally to present the New York billionaire with a gift - his own miner's hard hat.

Mr Trump donned the hat to wild cheering from the crowd and then pretended to shovel coal.

West Virginia last voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in 1996, when Mr Bill Clinton was running for his second four-year term.

West Virginia holds its presidential primary on Tuesday (May 10). It will be Mr Trump's first primary contest as the sole remaining Republican candidate after rivals Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich suspended their campaigns earlier in the week.