Donald Trump made his first speech of 2016 at a rally in Biloxi, Mississippi. Saturday night, the Republican presidential candidate spoke to 15,000 supporters at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center.
Bundled up in unofficial “Make America Great Again” hats, sweatshirts, and baseball caps, Trump supporters in Biloxi lined up around the convention center hours before the event’s 7 p.m. start time.
While being scrutinized by an extensive security check by the TSA, local police, and the Secret Service, the crowd was let in about 4:30 p.m. Over 13,000 seats in the convention center were filled and many were left standing in front of the stage, while an estimated 1,000 were forced to watch Trump’s speech from an overflow area in the building next door.
Trump’s speech Saturday night took aim at everything from Syrian refugees, ISIS, and trade deals to gun control, the Iran nuclear deal, and illegal immigration, even at one point blaming Hillary Clinton for the creation of ISIS and saying Americans are tired of President Obama’s policies.
Additionally, Trump made critical remarks of the political system and how he was once a part of it. The business titan was also proud that he hasn’t spent as much money as some other GOP candidates and maintained his campaign is the ideal model for the government to properly function.
Trump took some swipes at the media covering the event, as well.
The business mogul said the cameras will never show the supporters in Biloxi, yet have managed to cover the ejection of protesters at past events. He even spent four minutes trying to persuade a CNN cameraman to pan over the audience, who refused to do so.
He also made note of how the news coverage of his campaign does not accurately portray its true success in the polls.
Making a surprise appearance at the Trump Biloxi rally were YouTube superstars Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, also known as Diamond and Silk. Speaking to a mostly white crowd, Hardaway said this is our chance to have “real change.”
The “Stump for Trump” internet celebrities have supported the campaign at previous rallies and on TV.
Critics of Donald Trump don’t think he has a chance against rival Hilary Clinton or the Democrats in the race for president. While speaking in Biloxi, the billionaire derailed his critics by stating Clinton doesn’t want him to run against her and he is the right Republican candidate for the job.
“They do not want to run against me. Don’t forget – Democrats have certain structural advantages in terms of getting elected. You know, you look at the different states and there are certain advantages that they have. You have to pick the right guy. I’m going to win states that they never even thought about winning.”
Although a major story outside the event, the Trump speech in Biloxi did not address the latest jihadist recruitment video from the Somali-based al-Qaeda affiliate, al-Shabaab.
The 51-minute video uses clips of comments Trump made advocating a ban on Muslims from entering the United States. The real estate mogul made the remarks after the Islamic State-inspired shootings in San Bernardino, California, last month.
Released on Friday via Twitter, the video motivates Muslims and African-Americans to join the holy war against the U.S. The footage showing Trump appears about 10 minutes into the video.
Although the GOP front-runner did react to the jihadist video in an interview with CBS News, many along the Mississippi Gulf Coast believe terrorist groups fear a President Trump.
“ISIS, al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda, all those groups — they don’t want Trump in office,” said Richard Coyne, 52, an Army veteran from nearby Gulfport. “They want the status quo, which is unfortunately pro-ISIS, pro-Al-Qaeda, pro-Muslim.”
“The terrorists fear Trump right now. They’re going to do anything they can to make him look ridiculous and sound ridiculous,” said Tom Simmons, Vietnam War veteran and Trump supporter.
Last night in Biloxi, Trump advised that winning an election requires competence, not kindness. He also encouraged Mississippi supporters to vote in the March 8 primary.
“I want you to remember this night – you got to get out and vote,” Trump said. “We can’t take the chance.”
Claiming this visit was the largest political rally in Mississippi’s history, last night was The Donald’s second trip to the Gulf Coast since the start of the presidential campaign. The business magnate and TV star took time to personally talk with supporters and stayed after the event to sign autographs.
By all accounts, many at the rally were more anxious about how a President Donald Trump would help restore the Biloxi economy rather than a jihadist video used to recruit terrorists.
[Photo by AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis]