Oct. 08–At his speech today in Las Vegas, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump had a simple message for his supporters: He’s a winner. “I am leading in Florida — big — 28 percent. I am leading in Pennsylvania — I lovePennsylvania. I am leading in Ohio.”
Real estate mogul and reality television star Trump delivered the speech to a near-capacity crowd of 1,500 at theTreasure Island Hotel and Casino’s Mystere Theater, blasting the media and his political opponents alike.
Trump’s criticism of the news as dishonest — saying cameras “never pan the room” — drew a strong reaction from audience members who stood up and cheered, booed and pushed their way in view of the dozen or so TV cameras set up in the middle of the theater.
He also called former First Lady Hillary Clinton and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush “meek, pathetic and sad people” and took swipes at other GOP presidential candidates including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and former CEO Carly Fiorina
Touting himself as a “ratings machine,” Trump crowed about the amount of coverage his bid had received. “I think I am on 14 covers this month,” he said. “I am on more covers than any supermodel in history.”
Trump pulled Colombian immigrant and Las Vegas resident Myriam Witcher up onto the stage, who had with her a copy of People magazine featuring Trump on the cover. Trump, who said he had never met her before, told her “you are beautiful,” autographed the magazine and gave her a hug and a kiss.
“That’s my relationship with Hispanics,” Trump said.
In an interview before the rally, Witcher said she supports Trump’s plan to deport all immigrants here without legal status. She said she had to wait five years for a visa and that she and her family have “respect for the Constitution and rules.”
“I’m Hispanic, Latina, and I love me some Trump,” Witcher said in the interview. “He’s the perfect man, a businessman.”
Trump promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act, establish a more muscular foreign policy and to balance the nation’s budget. The candidate is traveling across the country to garner support in advance of the Republican’s first nominating contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.
After rising in national polls throughout the summer, Trump’s level has receded somewhat, but not enough for one of his challengers to overtake him.
The crowd largely matched Trump’s emotional tenor throughout his speech, booing at mentions of China, ISIS, Russia, the Common Core and Washington bureaucrats and applauding at promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act, mentions that Trump is funding his own campaign and jabs at other presidential candidates.
At various points, members of the audience — some clad in Trump t-shirts or sporting red “make America great again” hats — shouted “we need you” and “I love you.”
Some supporters who attended the speech said Trump’s stance on immigration first piqued their interest. Others said it was his business acumen. Almost all said they prefer Trump to other Republican candidates because he was not a professional politician.
“We need to think outside the box. We need a non-politician in office,” said Frank Dobbs, who has lived in Las Vegasfor 16 years. “He seems to be running his own campaign while others seem like they’re being told what to do.”
“Our leaders are incompetent,” Trump said to applause.
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