HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Thousands of fans filled the Pennsylvania Farm Show’ and Expo Center’s Large Arena Thursday night to hear Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump.
They were excited to see “The Donald” up close and personal, and the businessman-turned-candidate did not disappoint.
“We will repeal and replace Obamacare,” Trump said to a thunderous applause.
It was one of many hot-button issues that Trump pushed, and the crowd roared its approval every time.
He blasted the U.S.’s political leaders for bad trade deals that have robbed jobs from Harrisburg and Pennsylvania. He said the median income in Harrisburg has declined $7,000 since 2000.
“I don’t blame China, they can get away with it,” Trump said. “I blame our leaders for being so incompetent and so stupid to allow a thing like this to happen.”
Trump said he would do better deals that would return jobs to Pennsylvania.
He then turned to the corruption of campaign contributions and said since he’s self-funding, he’s immune. He hinted at how much he’s spent on his own campaign.
“So far, I’m in for $40-45 million. Even if you’re rich, that’s a lot of money, right?”
There were about seven protesters removed from various parts of the arena. As one was being led away, Trump remarked, “aren’t Trump rallies a lot of fun?”
Back to the speech, Trump called the war in Iraq “devastating.” He called it a mistake to go in initially and a mistake the way America exited. He promised to be tougher on terrorism than President Obama.
“Now, we have people cutting off heads and drowning people in steel cages. We’re gonna knock the hell out of ISIS.”
Of the Republican primary race he’s leading, Trump wondered why his two opponents remain.
“Cruz and Kasich have no path to victory,” he said. “It’s over. It’s over.”
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich have said they’re hoping to prevail in a contested GOP convention in Cleveland in July, but Trump is already peeking ahead to November.
“I wanna run against crooked Hillary Clinton,” he said. “We’re gonna beat her so badly. I wanna run against crooked Hillary.”
Trump promised to rebuild the military and yes, build that wall on the Mexican border.
“Someday, when I’m gone, they’ll name it the Trump wall, ’cause I’m gonna make it so big, so strong, and so beautiful.”
The energy in the crowd was palpable. They are clearly buying what Trump is selling. Perhaps an indication of Trump’s appeal is Jim Curry. He’s the mayor of Middletown. He’s a Democrat and he’s for Trump.
“Frankly, I’m tired of the establishment politics,” Curry said. “I see it on a local level, it’s there on the federal level, someone like this is a breath of fresh air.”
The candidate reminded everyone in the room to vote for him Tuesday and to call friends and tell them to vote for Trump. He said it would be the most significant vote they’ll cast in their lifetime.
Then Trump ended his nearly hour-long speech on a high, almost preacher-like, sermon on his favorite topic: winning.
“We’re gonna win at every single level and we’re gonna make America great again,” he said. “I love you, Harrisburg. I love you, Pennsylvania. I love you.”