Still trailing in the polls and on the defensive over his extraordinary praise of Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump held a rally Friday on Pensacola, Florida — friendly turf for Trump and his bombastic, take-no-prisoners style, and where his followers came away saying that Trump appeared more “presidential” in Friday’s appearance than when he spoke in Pensacola nine months earlier.
Scroll down this page for a full replay of the Donald Trump Pensacola rally on Friday, September 9.
“His speech tonight had more details,” local business owner and Trump supporter Sam Mullins told The Pensacola News-Journal. “I think he was more presidential tonight. The first time he kind of hopped around to different topics. Tonight, he stayed on point with his message.”
Trump made news in Pensacola by telling the crowd that his Democratic foe, Hillary Clinton, was effectively above the law, saying, “She’s being so protected. She could walk into this arena right now and shoot somebody with 20,000 people watching, right smack in the middle of the heart and she wouldn’t be prosecuted, OK?”
The bizarre claim echoed a statement Trump made in January during a rallying Iowa, but in that instance, Trump was talking about himself.
“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” Trump asserted at the time.
The Florida rally also comes on the heels of a Washington Post report exposing the collapse of the central Donald Trump policy-making group, a collection of experts and staff researchers in Washington, D.C., that has been advising Trump on policy since April.
I am returning to the Pensacola Bay Center in Florida- Friday, 9/9/16 at 7pm. Join me! https://t.co/L8Ui56dcrJ pic.twitter.com/wAePlfS0JL
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 3, 2016
But according to the Post report, most of the group’s staffers quit last month — because Trump simply stopped paying them.
“It’s a complete disaster,” one former Trump policy adviser told Post reporter Josh Rogin. “They use and abuse people. The policy office fell apart in August when the promised checks weren’t delivered.”
How closely Trump heeded policy advice from the group, or from anyone, remains an open question. On Wednesday night’s televised Town Hall on the NBC network, he hailed Russian leader Putin as a better leader than United States President Barack Obama.
Then on Thursday, as if to underscore his connection to Russia, Trump appeared on the Russian state-run English-language television network RT, where he repeated his blistering attacks on the U.S. government and U.S. foreign policy.
In the same interview on the network that is often described as a Russian propaganda outlet, Trump called the possibility that Russia has attempted to influence the 2016 presidential election by hacking into American computer systems “unlikely.”
— Daniel Drezner (@dandrezner) September 9, 2016
Nevertheless, the FBI has announced that it is intensifying its investigation into the alleged Russian hacks. The FBI has said that Russian hackers may have already infiltrated U.S. voter databases in Illinois and Arizona.
To watch a full replay of the Donald Trump rally in Pensacola, Florida, on Friday, September 9, click on the following video.
While polls have tightened somewhat over the past month, Donald Trump continues to trail Hillary Clinton in most polls and polling averages, despite his continued attacks on her.
For example, the HuffPost Pollster average of all presidential polls shows Clinton ahead by 4.8 percentage points, at 42.3 percent to 37.5 for Trump — with Libertarian Gary Johnson weighing in at 9.1 percent and, perhaps the most important number, a full 7.3 percent of voters remaining unable to decide between Trump and Clinton.
But in three consecutive polls this week, Clinton has held a narrow but steady lead, topping Trump by as much as four percentage points in the most recent Rasmussen poll, 43-39. In polls conducted by Ipsos/Reuters and YouGov/The Economist magazine, Clinton hold a two-point, 40-38 lead over Donald Trump.
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In addition to praising Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump also found himself under fire for remarks he made in the Tuesday Town Hall broadcast in which he appeared to blame the sharp increase in sexual assault allegations in the military on the fact that women are allowed to serve.
“There are many people that think that’s absolutely correct,” Donald Trump said during the NBC Town Hall broadcast.
[Featured Photo By Alex Wong / Getty Images]