Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump didn’t disappoint his supporters during a 30-minute appearance in Hartford, which included the ejection of at least six protestors.
“There is nothing more fun than a Trump rally,” Trump said as he sought to point out a protestor, a common occurrence at his rallies.
Hartford Police said there were 6,000 to 7,000 who made it into the Connecticut Convention Center to hear his remarks, but another 1,000 were left standing in line outside the venue. Police said they made no arrests.
Trump, who admitted they used to agitate him, said the protestors don’t even know why they are attending the event. He alleged that many of them were paid for their efforts.
The frontrunner in the Republican race for the nomination harkened back to his entrance into the Republican primary last June. He said his focus at that time was trade and immigration. He said those policies resonated with voters.
Any time he referred to Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Trump called him “Lying Ted Cruz.” But in the only poll of Connecticut voters, Cruz is a distant third when it comes to Nutmeg state Republicans.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich got a mention when Trump talked about how the former Congressman voted for the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“You can’t vote for people who voted in favor of NAFTA,” Trump said.
Trump focused the first part of his remarks on Connecticut’s struggling economy. Connecticut has been slow to recover the jobs it lost during the 2008 recession.
“We are led by people who are grossly incompetent. They don’t know what they’re doing,” Trump said. “Militarily we can’t beat ISIS, we have people that have no clue. That’s going to end folks.”
The rallies have become almost formulaic, but Trump tailored a portion of his comments to Connecticut.
“I know Hartford very well. I’ve lived in Connecticut. I love Connecticut,” Trump said. “But I know your problems. We lost General Electric. How do you lose General Electric?”
Some members of the crowd shouted “Thanks Malloy,” referring to Connecticut Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
He said the only consolation is that Connecticut lost it to another state and not another country.
In a later part of the speech, Trump mentioned another company, Carrier.
“We’re not going to let Carrier move to Mexico,” Trump said.
Trump said Hartford County food stamp recipients have increased since the year 2000 by 54,000. He didn’t blame those receiving benefits, but he said they need jobs.
There were 307,000 Connecticut residents employed in manufacturing in 1990, and there are now 159,000, Trump said.
He said if he gets elected they are bringing the companies and the jobs back.
Trump also decried the Republican nominating process, which was the topic of an editorial he wrote for the Wall Street Journal.
He said there are more people joining the Republican party because of him so if he’s not the Republican nominee then there will be millions of people who won’t come out to vote.
Trump said he thinks he will get the 1,237 delegates he needs before the Republican convention.
He transitioned to how he built a great business and then pointed to the riser of cameras and reporters and said “these are the most dishonest human beings you’ll ever meet.”
He then transitioned back to talking about the protestors, and said the only time the media will show the massive crowd is when a protester is being led out.
“These are really bad people. They don’t tell the story,” Trump said.
He said the media report on big crowds for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, but never for him.
“We have a movement going on the likes of which nobody has ever seen in this country,” Trump said.
There were protesters outside the Connecticut Convention Center and a man who came over the loudspeaker before Trump took the stage and asked supporters not to touch the protestors, but to yell “Trump, Trump, Trump” and someone will come escort the protester out.
Leading with 50 percent of the vote in the only presidential primary poll of Connecticut voters, Trump will likely walk away on April 26 with all 25 delegates.
According to the Emerson College Polling Society, Trump holds a solid lead in all five Congressional districts, by margins of 18 to 38 points. The winner of the Congressional district will be awarded all five delegates in that district.
Kasich finishes second and Cruz is third, but that doesn’t get them any delegates unless they can convince Connecticut’s three superdelegates to support them.
Stephen Ellison, a Trump supporter from Milford, said he is sick and tired of seeing all the jobs being cut and the issues with illegal immigration.
Ellison, a Trump supporter, said he doesn’t want to pay taxes for others to get free Social Security benefits.
“I want something different,” Ellison said outside the Connecticut Convention Center.
His wife, Holly, isn’t necessarily convinced Trump is her candidate yet, but like her husband she’s sick of self gratifying politicians. She worries about how Trump would handle foreign policy and meeting with world leaders. However, she said, Kasich spoke up too late and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “scares me.”
Joanne Maras of East Hartford said she supports Trump because “things have gotten really bad under Obama.”
She said the controversy regarding Trump’s comments about women doesn’t bother her.
“I think he’s a good guy,” Maras said.
Trump hasn’t been polling well with women voters and he took steps this week to repair his image with women by meeting this week with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. The two met for an hour this week and ended a feud that had some questioning Trump’s attitude toward women.
There were lots women who attended Trump’s rally at the Connecticut Convention Center.