Trump: US will be 'greater than ever before'
Posted December 4, 2015
Updated December 5, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump energized a raucous crowd in Raleigh on Friday night with promises of military might, mass deportations, action against ISIS, and an end to the Affordable Care Act and the Common Core academic standards.
Nearly eight thousand people packed Dorton Arena at the State Fairgrounds to hear from Trump, who continues to lead the GOP field by taking on critics head-on and preaching a message of reclaiming what he says is the eroding status of the United States.
"We are going to make our country great again, greater than ever before," he said
The appearance was disrupted at least a half-dozen times by protesters, who were loudly booed down by Trump supporters and escorted out of the arena. Meanwhile, several dozen protesters marched outside the arena, shouting, "Get your hate out of our state."
Law enforcement officials at the event said 25 people were removed from the arena.
Inside the arena, Trump initially dismissed the protests, saying the handful of people were a minor annoyance compared with the flood of people who back his message. But he became visibly irritated as the number of interruptions mounted.
So did Trump fans, some of whom pushed and hit at least one protestor as security removed him. Supporter Judy McNamara proudly told WRAL News she'd helped get two other protestors ejected.
"I helped get 'em out. Ripped up their signs," she said. "Right here. Held a coat over their face, got them out of here."
Speaking in almost a stream of consciousness for about 30 minutes, Trump blasted President Barack Obama, calling him "grossly incompetent" and a "great divider," Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, whom he said he would consider prosecuting for her actions as secretary of state, and GOP rival, Jeb Bush, whom he first referred to as "boring" before changing the description to "low energy."
His bombast was met with delighted cheers from the crowd.
With the attacks in San Bernardino, Calif., dominating the headlines, Trump focused largely on national security, immigration, fighting terrorism, ending the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the U.S., and supporting the military and veterans.
"We're going to build a military that is so big, so strong, so powerful that no one is going to mess with us," he said.
He said he would go after ISIS "so tough you don’t even want to hear it."
"Can we go a couple of steps beyond waterboarding?" he asked the crowd. "They're cutting off heads."
Trump also pledged not only to keep Syrian refugees out of the U.S., but also to deport those who are already here, though he said he would support relief efforts in "safe zones" in the Middle East.
"We want to help people, but we don’t want these people coming to the United States. And if they do, and if I win, they’re going back. They've got to go back," Trump told his supporters.
The real estate tycoon also highlighted reports that a neighbor of the California attackers had suspicions about the couple, but said nothing to authorities.
"Can anybody be that dumb? They didn’t want to be involved with racial profiling," he said. "We have become so politically correct, we don't know what the hell we’re doing!"
"If you had a couple of folks [at the crime scene] with guns and that knew how to use them, you wouldn’t have dead people," Trump added. "The dead people would be the other guys. We have to be vigilant. We have to be much tougher, we have to be much smarter, or it’s never, ever going to end. Remember that."
Trump spent the second half hour of his appearance taking questions from audience members, getting the loudest applause line when he cut off the first questioner.
"What would you tell President Obama...?" a woman started to ask.
"You're fired!" he interrupted her.
He promised a student from Campbell University that he would build the economy so graduates would have jobs waiting for them, told another questioner that he would repeal Obama's executive orders on immigration and work to help veterans on his first day in office and told a 12-year-old girl from Virginia that she would be safe growing up under his leadership.
"If I win, we are going to be so proud of our country again," he said.